White House slashes number of journalists in briefing room to 14 due to Covid

The move will reportedly be temporary.

Ari Hoffman Seattle WA

The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) announced late Sunday that the West Wing will reduce the number of journalists allowed to attend daily press briefings because of the increase in COVID-19 cases. The move will reportedly be temporary.

In an email from association president Steve Portnoy, the WHCA board voted unanimously to limit the briefings to 14 reporters out of an available 49 seats in the briefing room. Many of the 14 available slots will be filled on a rotating basis.

Aside from pool positions, only Bloomberg, The Associated Press and Reuters were given permanent positions. The move comes as outlets which have been traditionally favorable to Democrats, have began covering more of the failures of the Biden administration amid the President's cratering poll numbers.

Portnoy wrote in the email, "Given the virulence of the spread, medical experts have once again advised that it would be prudent to substantially reduce the number of people working in the cramped, poorly ventilated workspace that we share."

Portnoy added that the WHCA will revisit the decision by Jan. 21, and that "case rates and the latest guidance from experts" will determine the path forward.

The layout is the same as what was during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic from the summer of 2020 through earlier in 2021.

Recently, the WHCA has asked reporters to take rapid COVID-19 tests before attending briefings and banned the use of cloth masks in favor of N95 masks.


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