Six campaign staffers working on the advance team for President Trump's rally in Tulsa, Okla., have tested positive for COVID-19, the campaign said Saturday. Trump is still attending the rally.
"Per safety protocols, campaign staff are tested for COVID-19 before events. Six members of the advance team tested positive out of hundreds of tests performed, and quarantine procedures were immediately implemented," Tim Murtaugh, the campaign communications director, said in a statement. He added that none of those staffers or anyone in immediate contact with them will attend the rally. "As previously announced, all rally attendees are given temperature checks before going through security, at which point they are given wristbands, face masks and hand sanitizer."
Those face masks, however, will not be required, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters during a briefing Friday afternoon.
"I won't be wearing a mask," she said. "It's a personal decision. I'm tested regularly. I feel that it's safe for me to not be wearing a mask, and I'm in compliance with CDC guidelines, which are recommended but not required."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone wear "cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain." The Trump campaign is requiring that everyone who attends the rally sign a waiver releasing the campaign and the president of any liability if guests are exposed to COVID-19.
This is the first Trump rally since the pandemic began spreading across the U.S. in February and comes amid a wide dispute over whether the rally should even take place. On Friday, the Oklahoma Supreme Court rejected an appeal in a lawsuit filed this week by a group of Tulsa residents who were fighting to have organizers enforce social distancing measures. The lawsuit said that the rally could increase the spread of COVID-19, because it is held indoors at a 19,000-seat center in Oklahoma, a state that has seen a spike in the virus. Tulsa was also supposed to be under curfew for the weekend, but it was lifted on Friday.
"Last night, I enacted a curfew at the request of Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin, following consultation with the United States Secret Service based on intelligence they had received," Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a statement. "Today, we were told the curfew is no longer necessary so I am rescinding it."