WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) – Senior Biden officials told the White House staff on Friday (April 30) that more aides will be allowed to come back to work in-person over the coming weeks, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The loosening of coronavirus restrictions, announced on a conference call, can proceed because vaccines have been offered to all members of the staff, one of the people said.
The return will be staggered and won’t take place immediately, added the people, who were granted anonymity to discuss personnel decisions.
The notification applies only to the Executive Office of the President, which consists of President Joe Biden’s immediate staff. Other agencies, however, are likely to follow suit, an aide said.
Asked why, given the availability of vaccines, the entire staff isn’t being brought back now, one of the people said that administration officials preferred to err on the side of caution, given the unpredictability of the virus.
Most White House officials, like many workers across the US, continue to work from home. Most of the staff will telework until summer, one of the people said.
On Tuesday (April 27), the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated people could go outdoors and even socialise in small groups without masks.
“Beginning today, gathering with a group of friends in a park, going for a picnic, as long as you are vaccinated and outdoors, you can do it without a mask,” Mr Biden said at the White House that day.
“If you’re vaccinated, you can do more things, more safely, both outdoors as well as indoors.”
In the US, 240 million vaccine doses have been administered thus far, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.