White House public tours to resume Sept. 12 with COVID rules

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FILE – In this Aug. 21, 2020, file photo lights and staging stand on the South Lawn of the White House, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Washington. President Donald Trump is expected to speak to the Republican National Committee convention next week from the South Lawn of the White House. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Public tours of the White House, halted nearly six months ago due to the coronavirusoutbreak, are set to resume later this month with new health and safety policies in place.

Tours will resume Sept. 12, for two days a week instead of five, and for just a few hours a day, the first lady’s office announced Tuesday. The number of visitors will also be capped.

“In order to ensure the safety and health of all visitors, there have been new policies implemented that align with the guidance issued by Federal, State, and local officials,” the White House said.

All guests over age 2 will be required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing.

Social distancing dots will be placed on the ground to guide guests during check-in, and hand sanitizer will be available in multiple locations.

National Park Service workers, U.S. Secret Service officers and staff from the White House visitors office along the tour route will wear face coverings and gloves, and encourage social distancing while interacting with guests.

Tours will be allowed only on Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the number of guests will be capped at 18% of normal capacity, the White House said.

Last week, President Donald Trump invited 1,500 supporters to the White House lawn for his speechaccepting the Republican presidential nomination. Social distancing was not practiced as guests were seated close together, and few wore face coverings, as recommended by numerous medical and public health officials — including some of those advising the Trump administration.

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