WH Briefing Room Returns to Full Capacity on Monday Director of the National Economic Council Brian Deese, with White House Press Secretary Jennifer Psaki (L), speaks during the daily White House briefing in Washington DC, on June 4, 2021. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty)
By Brian Freeman | Sunday, 06 June 2021 05:22 PM
The White House press briefing room will return to full capacity on Monday, the White House Correspondents Association said in a memo sent to reporters Sunday, The Hill reports.
The association also said the seating chart before the coronavirus crisis will return and that it will start a review of permanent seating towards the end of this year.
More than 98% of the approximately 500 members in the association who responded to a recent survey said they were fully vaccinated, according to the organization.
The WHCA also said all other limitations concerning press capacity on the grounds of the White House will also be lifted on Monday, including on the North Lawn and at indoor press workspaces, which will also go back to assignment orientation as they were before the pandemic.
"Since the onset of the pandemic, our priority has been to keep journalists safe, while ensuring that the critical work of informing the public could continue uninterrupted," the WHCA said in its memo. "We appreciate the sacrifices made by every member of the press corps and we thank you all for your cooperation over the last 15 months."
The White House had indicated in recent weeks that a a return to full operations for the media working in the building would be coming soon, according to The Hill.
“I can confirm we are a warm and fuzzy crew and we like to hug around here, but we were waiting for that to be allowed by CDC guidelines, which we certainly abide by," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on May 21. "We are, as many organizations and companies are, working to implement these guidelines here at the White House so what you’ve seen over the last couple of days is efforts to do exactly that and that includes welcoming back and having a full briefing room very soon."
Three days following that announcement, the White House increased capacity in the briefing room from just 14 people to 50%.
Any member of the press must be vaccinated or be able to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before entering the White House complex.
"We understand this is a significant burden and we are working with the White House to adjust this policy as soon as possible," the association said in its memo. "We now are excited to share the next big step in our plans to safely return to normal press operations at the White House. Additional steps will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead."