The White House Correspondents’ Association said Sunday it will require those who plan to attend its annual dinner this month to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Correspondents Association President Steve Portnoy said in an email that the board voted earlier Sunday to require attendees to show proof of vaccination in addition to an existing requirement to show a same-day negative test to attend the dinner on April 30.
“Same-day testing has been our plan for months, and now we’re closing the loop by adding the vaccine requirement. We’ll ask all guests to demonstrate their compliance with both via the Bindle app. Our exec director, Steve Thomma, is working with bureau managers and ticket buyers to ensure guidance on the use of the app is widely disseminated and understood by all attendees,” Portnoy wrote.
The association is also encouraging attendees to obtain a fourth booster shot if they are eligible as soon as this week for maximum protection by White House Correspondents Dinner weekend. This is critical, as Hollywood and Washington alike will flock to the District to celebrate not just at the Washington Hilton, but at the other multiple events taking place that weekend.
“The board’s policy is aimed at preventing anyone who is known to be infectious (as indicated by a positive result on a rapid antigen test) from spreading the virus at the dinner. But nothing we implement to protect the ballroom can reach the many social events other organizers throw around our dinner. Bear that in mind,” Portnoy wrote.
Portnoy cited an appearance by Anthony Fauci on ABC’s “This Week” where Fauci highlighted protocols by some places that are requiring both proof of vaccination and same-day negative test as part of the reasoning behind the enhanced protocols for the White House Correspondents dinner.
Several White House officials and congressional lawmakers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week, many of whom attended the Gridiron Dinner, leading to questions as to whether Washington should continue to hold large indoor events, some for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
“There are risks attendant to everything we’ll do over the next few weeks— hanging out with friends, going to briefings, attending Easter Sunday services or Passover Seders, and, of course, celebrating the First Amendment at our annual dinner. Each of us should judge our respective risk thresholds before engaging in any of these activities,” Portnoy wrote.
We look forward to a safe and fun White House Correspondents Dinner weekend and encourage everyone to be mindful and follow proper COVID-19 restrictions ahead of all festivities.