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The Eisenhower Executive Office Building is an extravagant 19th-century structure just east of the White House that is home to the offices of senior administration staff, including the vice-president’s office, the National Security Council, and officials from the president’s coronavirus task force. And on Wednesday, its mess hall was reportedly closed after a cafeteria worker tested positive for the coronavirus.
Operated by a government contractor, the EEOB’s cafeteria will remain closed for the remainder of the week, though NBC News reports that the facility could be inactive for up to two weeks for cleaning. And while Trump — who is provided his unique diet by the White House executive chef — would not normally step foot in the cafeteria just across West Executive Avenue, it’s quite possible that he interacts with staffers who do.
Though the administration faced a more extensive COVID-19 outbreak in May, the reality of a coronavirus-positive worker on the White House grounds in July reinforces just how difficult it has been for Trump to control the pandemic in the United States. A comment provided by the president during his White House coronavirus press briefing might also suggest why the effort to control the virus is going so poorly:
Considering Trump’s lifelong germophobia, it’s a bit odd that he’s just now “finding more and more people” who are bullish hand-washers. (In his defense, he is known to be a hand-sanitizer guy.) Whether or not Trump staffers follow the president’s astute personal hygiene advice, the White House has loosened its pandemic restrictions since its May outbreak: Though anyone on White House grounds coming into close contact with the president are given rapid coronavirus tests, the administration recently ended regular temperature checks for everyone entering the complex.