Speed Reads

o omicron, o omicron

How the White House is scaling back holiday celebrations this year amid COVID concerns

This year's White House holiday festivities will still espouse plenty of comfort and joy ... just on a smaller scale than originally planned.

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scaling back their parties and celebrations this Christmas season due to COVID-19 concerns, NBC News reports per a statement from Jill Biden's office.

In the past, the first couple would typically use holiday parties to entertain staff, friends, donors, media, and members of the Secret Service, CNN explains. But this year, rather than hosting dozens of holiday receptions, there will be "a limited number of open-house style events" for guests to marvel at the festive White House decorations in "timed increments via self-guided tours," writes NBC News. 

"Anyone who knows the Bidens knows how much they enjoy hosting and celebrating the holidays," said Jill Biden spokesperson Michael LaRosa. "It is disappointing that we cannot host as many people as the Bidens would like to, but as we have done since Day 1 of the Biden administration, we will continue to implement strong COVID protocols, developed in consultation with our public health advisors."

The invite-only open houses will be timed at 30 minutes per guest, who will be required to take a COVID-19 test within 48 hours of their visit should they be unable to confirm their vaccination status, according to CNN.