- The State Department hosted a holiday party for around 200 people on Tuesday night, despite COVID-19 concerns, The Washington Post reported.
- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office has also reportedly sent out invitations for numerous parties this month, including one where at least 900 people have received invitations.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Around 200 people attended a holiday party hosted by the State Department on Tuesday night, ignoring COVID-19 rules, The Washington Post reported.
The event was hosted at the presidential guesthouse after there was a positive coronavirus case on-site in the last week.
Two officials who spoke to The Post anonymously said that two bars were set up in the guesthouse and staff who wore masks poured drinks for guests. They also said that ambassadors of Afghanistan, Egypt, South Korea, and Guatemala, attended.
The event featured a tour of the White House’s vaunted holiday decorations and a self-guided tour of the Blair House.
The department did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment at the time of publication but a spokesperson told The Post that the “Holiday Cheer” reception that was supposed to follow the tour was canceled out of concern for spreading the virus.
This isn’t the only party being hosted by the State Department this month. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s office has reportedly sent out invitations to diplomats and staff for several parties this month, including one December 15 event where at least 900 people have already been invited.
Another event is reportedly scheduled for December 16, where more than 180 foreign ambassadors, who can bring their spouses, were already invited.
A State Department spokesperson told Business Insider’s Azmi Haroun that, “We plan to follow all Diplomacy Strong guidelines in compliance with health officials’ guidance.”
For these events, guests will be required to wear masks and have their temperatures taken. Additional health guidelines will also be sent to attendees prior to the event, the Department told Business Insider in a statement.
The coronavirus has infected more than 15.3 million people in the US so far with over 289,000 deaths according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The highly contagious virus has spread across the US at record rates in the past several weeks.
In September, a ceremony to officially announced President Donald Trump’s nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court was deemed a super-spreading event, where dozens of attendees later tested positive, including Trump himself.
COVID-19 regulations in Washington, DC, and guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention limit indoor gatherings to no more than 10 people.