W.H. briefing room to return to full, pre-pandemic seating capacity

The White House’s James S. Brady Press Briefing Room is slated to return to full seating capacity this week, the White House Correspondents’ Association announced on Sunday.

The WHCA will also reintroduce its pre-pandemic seating chart for the briefing room, featuring a front row of reporters from outlets including NBC, Fox News, CBS News, the Associated Press, ABC News, Reuters and CNN.

In addition, press capacity limitations on the White House grounds, including on the North Lawn and in indoor press workspaces, will return to 100 percent, according to the WHCA.

However, journalists will continue to be required to be tested or display proof of an eligible negative test before entering the White House complex.

The news of the expanded briefing room seating represents the White House’s latest return to normal operations, as more than half of Americans have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine and federal masking guidance has been significantly loosened in recent weeks.

Late last month, in a major shift from previous Covid-19 safety protocols, White House press secretary Jen Psaki fielded questions from 24 maskless reporters representing 50 percent of the briefing room’s capacity. The White House will reportedly ask all employees to return for in-person work in July.


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