White House Imposing Vaccine Requirement For All Visitors, Including Reporters

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
Font Size:

The White House will begin requiring proof of vaccination for all visitors, including reporters, Sunday, Aug. 8, the White House Correspondents Association announced Friday.

“All who enter the [White House] complex are being asked to fill out [a] form attesting to their vaccination status,” WHCA president Steven Portnoy wrote in an email to reporters. President Joe Biden announced July 29 that all federal employees and contractors would be required to show proof of vaccination when returning to work, or be required to wear masks and undergo frequent COVID-19 testing. The WHCA ordered reporters to resume wearing masks when inside the White House July 28, following new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

More than 99% of the White House press corps had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of June, according to Portnoy’s email.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 27: Fin Gomez, a journalist with CBS News and White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) board member, replaces signs for mask-wearing guidance around the James Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House on July 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The White House will now provide a form to all visitors, including reporters, in which they must indicate whether or not they are fully vaccinated, which is defined as “at least 2 weeks past your final dose.”

“Visitors who are unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or who decline to indicate whether they are fully vaccinated will be required to complete a COVID-19 test upon arrival at the White House Medical Unit or other designated location, wear a mask at all times while on the White House grounds, and maintain proper social distancing protocols,” according to the attestation form.

Press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters May 21 that the White House would not mandate vaccines for visitors.

Cities and states are considering vaccine mandates, although Psaki has repeatedly denied that the federal government would institute one. New York City will begin implementing a vaccine passport system by the end of August. Vaccines will be required at indoor businesses like restaurants, gyms, and stadiums. Residents can demonstrate their vaccinated status via a smartphone app. (RELATED: De Blasio’s Vaccine Passports Will Hit Minority, Poor Communities The Hardest)

In contrast, Florida, Montana, Texas and Alabama have banned vaccine passports, by either executive order or law. All four states also prohibit private businesses from asking customers about their vaccination statuses.

Some high-profile businesses, including Disney, Walmart, Tyson Foods and the Washington Examiner are requiring that their employees be vaccinated before returning to work, setting the stage for legal challenges in states that prohibit vaccine passports.