USA

White House's Independence Day party attendees will social distance

"To ensure the health and safety of those attending, social distancing will be observed and facial coverings and personal hand sanitizers will be provided," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said Thursday.

Guests at Saturday's White House event will be comprised of front line workers and their families, including law enforcement, doctors, nurses and first responders, Deere said.

A separate White House official told CNN each attendee will be handed a packet upon entry containing a mask, hand wipes and sanitizer. White House staff waiting on guests will be using multiple disposable masks and gloves, to be constantly tossed out and reapplied throughout the duration, the official said.

The event is acting as a social precursor to the military flyovers and fireworks happening on the National Mall on Saturday evening as part of the festivities.

It marks the first large-scale social event held at the White House since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump's recent Tulsa rally resulted in several campaign staff and two US Secret Service Agents testing positive for Covid-19. The organizers also received criticism for ordering the removal of seat stickers designating space between attendees be practiced. The number of people who went to the rally was dramatically less than the hundreds of thousands projected by staff on the Trump campaign.

Meanwhile, the country's number of infected individuals has spiked in several states where reopening was perhaps premature. It comes after the President has hyped reviving the economy over safety precautions such as mask-wearing, and downplayed concerns about the tens of thousands dead and record new cases. Republican lawmakers, in a notable turn on messaging from the President, have just this week pushed louder for all Americans to wear face coverings in public.

The White House Fourth of July party will take place in lieu of the annual Congressional Fourth of July Picnic, which has during the Trump administration featured a carousel and a Ferris wheel.

"This year's Independence Day celebration will have a different look than 2019, to ensure the health and safety of those attending," Deere said.

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