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White House scaling back temperature screenings

The White House is scaling back its temperature screenings for those entering the building, officials said Monday, citing Washington, D.C.'s move into phase two of its reopening process.

Staff and journalists entering the building have been required to pass a temperature check and answer questions about their health before gaining access to the White House over the past few months to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But tents set up along the north entrance of the building to conduct screenings were taken down Monday morning.

"In conjunction with Washington, D.C. entering Phase Two today, the White House is scaling back complex-wide temperature checks," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

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"In addition to social distancing, hand sanitizer, regular deep cleaning of all work spaces, and voluntary facial coverings, every staff member and guest in close proximity to the president and vice president is still being temperature checked, asked symptom histories, and tested for COVID-19," he added.

Reporters who are part of the pool that attends events with the president and staff who are in close proximity to President TrumpDonald TrumpGuardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa wins GOP primary in NYC mayor's race Garland dismisses broad review of politicization of DOJ under Trump Schumer vows next steps after 'ridiculous,' 'awful' GOP election bill filibuster MORE and Vice President Pence will still be given coronavirus testsĀ and temperature checks and be asked about their symptoms.

A White House email to staff sent Sunday night advised them that "voluntary temperature checks and masks" would continue to be available inside the building.

The shift on health screenings for those entering the building marks the latest indication the White House is loosening measures meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected more than 2.2 million people in the U.S.

Press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters last week that masks were "recommended but not required" in the West Wing. Aides were spotted wearing face coverings infrequently in recent weeks after a May 11 memo instructed them that masks were necessary for anyone not able to social distance.

The president held a campaign rally Saturday, bringing thousands of supporters together inside an arena in Tulsa, Okla., for hours. Public health officials, including those in the administration, advised that such a gathering was risky and could lead to a fresh outbreak of coronavirus cases.

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The White House has been laser-focused in recent weeks on messaging that the U.S. is ready to reopen businesses and jumpstart the economy, portraying the federal government's response to the coronavirus as a success.

There has been little attention paid to the more than 120,000 people in the U.S. who have died from the virus, and states like Florida, Arizona and Texas are seeing surges in cases and hospitalizations.

Olivia Beavers contributed.