COVID Mandates for WH Correspondents’ Dinner Don’t Apply to All

COVID Mandates for WH Correspondents' Dinner Don't Apply to All the hilton The Hilton Hotel in L'Enfant Plaza in Washington, D.C., on May 13, 2020. (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA via AP Images)

By Jeffrey Rodack | Thursday, 28 April 2022 09:14 AM

Strict COVID-19 precautions will be in place for Saturday’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner at the Washington Hilton, but they don’t extend to the hospitality staff set to work the event, Axios is reporting.

About 2,600 people are expected at the dinner. The guests must show proof of vaccination and a negative same-day test, according to the news outlet.

However, Benjy Cannon, communications director for Unite Here Local 25, the union representing the Hilton’s hospitality workers, said its members haven’t been approached by the hotel about vaccination requirements or testing for those scheduled to work.

The union, which has pushed for workers to get vaccinated, said it could “bargain over the issue.”

Axios reported that the correspondents’ association had been assured that the Hilton would mandate its staff to wear masks at the dinner.

A hotel spokesperson declined to answer questions about the vaccination status of the workers.

“Throughout the pandemic, Washington Hilton has hosted a number of large-scale events with COVID-19 protocols in place, including offering our team members the flexibility to choose if they work in large group settings, based on their comfort level," the spokesperson told Axios.

Dr. Anthony Fauci canceled plans to attend the dinner after assessing his risk for contracting the coronavirus, CNN said.

The decision by the nation’s top infectious disease doctor was made amid concerns that the dinner could become a super spreader event, much like the annual Gridiron dinner held weeks ago.

Fauci's decision came as fears of the omicron sub-variant touched off new concerns about the virus. Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for the coronavirus this week.

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Joe Biden would take added precautions while attending the event, including skipping the dining portion of the event, The Hill reported.