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White House briefing room returns to full capacity as pandemic improves

WASHINGTON — The White House briefing room will return Monday to full capacity after the Covid-19 pandemic led to limited seating for reporters over the last year, the White House Correspondents’ Association announced Sunday.

With falling infection rates across the country fueled by the push to vaccinate Americans, the return to normalcy in one of those iconic spaces of the White House will by another sign that pandemic is nearly over.

The WHCA also announced that press capacity limitations on general White House grounds for both indoors and outdoors would be lifted on Monday.

Meanwhile, the White House mask policy remains in effect in accordance with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is that fully vaccinated people can remove their masks while those who are unvaccinated or within two weeks of their final shot should remain masked.

The updated changes come as the White House returns to normal operations as Covid-19 case counts continue to drop across the country. According to the CDC, nearly two-thirds of adults in the U.S. have received at least their first dose and more than half of adults are fully vaccinated.

The return to full capacity Monday follows capacity being increased to 50 percent, or 24 seats, on May 24. With the briefing room at 100 percent capacity, all 49 seats will be made available for use by reporters, for the first time in more than a year.

The White House imposed severe limits on capacity on March 16, 2020 when the coronavirus pandemic caused the country to shut down. White House press secretary Jen Psaki resumed holding daily press briefings after her predecessors in the Trump White House opted to abandon the precedent.

Read More: White House briefing room returns to full capacity as pandemic improves

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