All these warnings from public well being officers begging Americans to restrict gatherings this holiday season amid a surge in coronavirus circumstances aren’t stopping the White House from planning a bunch of festivities and holiday parties within the midst of a pandemic.
Monday’s supply of an 18-and-a-half-foot tall Fraser fir by horse-drawn carriage signalled the kickoff of the standard array of White House holiday occasions that can embody the annual turkey pardon and Christmas and Hanukkah occasions.
“Attending the parties will be a very personal choice,” mentioned Stephanie Grisham, first woman Melania Trump’s spokeswoman and chief of employees, referring to the plans. “It is a longstanding tradition for people to visit and enjoy the cheer and iconic décor of the annual White House Christmas celebrations.”
The determination to maneuver ahead with indoor gatherings and undertaking a way of normalcy comes because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), prime White House advisers and public well being professionals throughout the nation have been pleading with Americans to not journey for Thanksgiving or spend the holiday with folks from exterior of their households.
As the climate has cooled, the virus has been spreading uncontrolled, with circumstances and hospitalizations surging throughout the nation and greater than 250,000 folks useless.
The White House has already been the location of a number of suspected “super-spreader” occasions and dozens of employees — together with the president, his spouse and two of his sons — have been contaminated, together with an extended checklist of marketing campaign aides, different advisers and allies in Congress.
Grisham mentioned the White House can be taking precautions to supply “the safest environment possible” for many who select to attend occasions. That consists of smaller visitor lists, requiring masks, encouraging social distancing on the White House grounds and hand sanitizer stations positioned all through the State Floor.
“Guests will enjoy food individually plated by chefs at plexiglass protected food stations. All passed beverages will be covered. All service staff will wear masks and gloves to comply with food safety guidelines,” she mentioned.
Anthony Fauci, the nation’s prime infectious illness professional, warned as soon as once more on Monday of the doubtless dire penalties of gathering this holiday season.
“We’re in a very difficult situation where the rate of infection, the slope of infections, are really very, very steep. So you might want to reconsider travel plans,” Fauci mentioned in an interview with Washington Post Live. He added that indoor holiday gatherings “as innocent and wonderful as they sound” needs to be saved to a minimal variety of folks, ideally “just members of a household” and likewise warned of a possible “surge superimposed upon a surge” if precautions aren’t taken.
Fauci predicted the nation may see “well over” 300,000 deaths by the tip of the yr “if we don’t we turn things around.”
US Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Monday repeatedly evaded questions on indoor holiday parties scheduled on the White House whereas calling different Americans’ indoor gatherings potential “super-spreader” occasions.
“I want the American people to know that we are at a dire point in our fight with this virus, by any measure: cases, positivity, hospitalizations, deaths,” he mentioned on on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “So I’m asking Americans — I’m begging you — hold on just a little bit longer. Keep Thanksgiving and the celebrations small and smart this year do it outdoors if you can, keep it small, ideally less than 10, and prepare beforehand.”
Pressed on whether or not he had considerations about White House holiday plans, Adams mentioned that finest practices “apply to the White House, they apply to the American people, they apply to everyone. We want you to stay safe so we can get to a vaccine.”
Not lengthy after, the primary woman attended a small outside ceremony on the White House driveway to mark the arrival of the massive Christmas tree that can adorn the White House Blue Room.
Mrs. Trump inspected the Fraser fir tree, smiled, waved to cameras and chatted with masked drivers of a carriage pulled by Clydesdale horses because the brass part of the US Marine Band performed Christmas carols.
The National Christmas Tree Association(NCTA) mentioned that, in regular years, “the selection of the White House Christmas tree is a media event at the NCTA Champion Grower’s farm attended by 100 or more people to observe the White House team select the perfect tree for the Blue Room.”
It added that “2020 is far from a normal year — there was no selection event this year.”
On Tuesday, the holiday occasions will proceed on the White House as President Donald Trump participates within the annual pardoning of the National Thanksgiving Turkey at a ceremony within the Rose Garden.
The turkeys – Corn and Cob – arrived Sunday on the luxurious Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington and photographers have been invited there Monday, as they’re yearly, to seize the fowl strutting round inside their resort room.
The first household has cancelled its annual Thanksgiving week journey to Florida and will likely be gathering on the White House as an alternative of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago membership, the place he’s usually joined by lots of of dues-paying members.
President-elect Joe Biden, in the meantime, has mentioned that there will likely be solely three folks at his Thanksgiving desk this yr due to the virus
“I got a big family you’ve probably heard a lot about. We do everything together,” he mentioned during a digital roundtable with health-care employees. This yr, nonetheless, “There are going to be three of us because you can’t mix the families that have been away, that haven’t been quarantining.”
Trump has remained largely behind closed doorways since he misplaced his bid for re-election. He has refused to concede, lodging baseless allegations of voter fraud in an try and subvert the outcomes.