The White House press briefing room will welcome the press corps back at full capacity Monday following the Center for Disease Control and Prevention relaxing its COVID-19 guidelines.
The White House Correspondents Association said Sunday, according to The Hill, in a memo to reporters:
Since the onset of the pandemic, our priority has been to keep journalists safe, while ensuring that the critical work of informing the public could continue uninterrupted. We appreciate the sacrifices made by every member of the press corps and we thank you all for your cooperation over the last 15 months.
The White House Correspondents Association’s seating chart from before the pandemic will return. The association said that a review of permanent seating will occur at the end of the year.
More than 98 percent of the 500 reporters who responded to a recent survey said they were fully vaccinated, according to the association.
All press capacity limitations at the White House will be lifted on Monday as well. The White House said in May that the press being permitted to resume working as they would prior to the pandemic could resume shortly.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on May 21:
I can confirm we are a warm and fuzzy crew and we like to hug around here but we were waiting for that to be allowed by CDC guidelines, which we certainly abide by. We are, as many organizations and companies are, working to implement these guidelines here at the White House so what you’ve seen over the last couple of days is efforts to do exactly that and that includes welcoming back and having a full briefing room very soon.
The White House later permitted briefing room capacity to rise from 14 people to 50 percent.
Journalists are required to either be vaccinated or be able to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering the White House.
The association said in their memo:
We understand this is a significant burden and we are working with the White House to adjust this policy as soon as possible. We now are excited to share the next big step in our plans to safely return to normal press operations at the White House. Additional steps will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.