The upcoming events, which offer refreshments and drinks to guests, occur when Foreign Ministry staff were told not to hold festive gatherings and maximize telecommuting until Thanksgiving due to the pandemic, and as staff continue to do almost daily e- they receive emails, according to sources, about Covid-19 outbreaks inside the building. Just last week, the protocol office planning these events had to go through a deep clean-up over a possible incident.
A State Department spokesman stressed in a statement to CNN that the events will adhere to strict coronavirus guidelines, with guests wearing a mask and social distance.
However, it is not clear how social distance guidelines could be followed with more than 100 people – and potentially more – in one room.
Temperature checks will also be carried out and guests will be approached with “health and safety precautions” before the events, asking them not to attend if they think they have a virus or have been exposed in recent days, the spokesman said.
“We have taken every precaution to filter out the number of individuals in all spaces at once and plan to make the open space outdoors and available to participants in obedience to the weather,” the spokesman said, although they did not explain why food and drink are served if masks are needed.
The planned events will infuriate the career of the State Department as they have concerns about the spread of the deadly virus by the parties. Career and contract staff feel they can’t say no to running the events, one official explained. The potentially dangerous situation in which this is forcing people is a cause for concern.
“Which is forcing Pompeo’s secretary and chief of protocols, Cam Henderson, to think they are breaking the rules and under the control of the virus so that many parties can be thrown out if there is literally an epidemic raging in the building that they can’t fix,” the Foreign Ministry said. his official said.
“It’s simply irresponsible,” the first official said, noting that some entrepreneurs working in the kitchen may not have health insurance.
Upcoming parties will continue the Trump government’s pattern against public health recommendations while the epidemic continues to grip the United States. The White House itself was the epicenter of at least three Covid-19 epidemics between staff and Trump’s allies, which doesn’t stop events from happening there until things spin up.
CNN’s Devan Cole, Kate Bennett, Kristen Holmes and Betsy Klein contributed to the report.