White House, Pentagon shutting down tours amid coronavirus outbreak
The White House and Pentagon announced Thursday that tours will be suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The White House Visitors Office information line informs callers that the tours of the executive mansion are “temporarily suspended.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, all White House tours have been temporarily suspended, effective immediately,” the message said. “We truly appreciate your understanding.”
The recording then instructs those who expected a tour to get in touch with the contact who scheduled it.
Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah, meanwhile, tweeted that, as of Thursday morning, all tours would be canceled “until further notice.”
“We regret the inconvenience to our more than 2,000 visitors a week, but our key priorities are the health of our people & ensuring our ability to continue executing vital national security missions,” she said.
As of this morning, all public Pentagon tours are canceled until further notice. We regret the inconvenience to our more than 2,000 visitors a week, but our key priorities are the health of our people & ensuring our ability to continue executing vital national security missions.
— Alyssa Farah (@PentagonPresSec) March 12, 2020
The Capitol canceled all tours Wednesday night and issued further restrictions to the public on Thursday.
Paul Irving, the House sergeant at arms, and Michael Stenger, the Senate sergeant of arms, said in a statement that access to the Capitol and to the House and Senate office buildings “will be limited to members, staff, credentialed press and official business visitors.”
These restrictions at the Capitol are expected to continue until April 4.
Officials announced late Wednesday that a staffer for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) tested positive for the virus in the first confirmed case on Capitol Hill.
Brett Samuels contributed.