President Biden told reporters Friday that he is enjoying his first day without masks at the White House after a rule change on Thursday.
The president was seen taking a photograph outside with a departing staffer and her family, none wearing masks.
“Are you enjoying your first day without masks?” a Fox News producer asked the president as he walked back inside. “Yes,” Biden shouted as he kept walking, with his back to the camera.
The White House sent an email to staff Thursday informing them that if they were fully vaccinated against COVID, they no longer need to wear a mask on the grounds. Vaccinated media could take off their masks, as well.
The procedural change came just as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a new recommendation that those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 do not need to wear a mask in most settings.
Fully vaccinated individuals are still advised to wear masks while in crowded indoor settings such as while on public transportation and in hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.
The CDC and White House had been facing growing pressure to incentivize getting the COVID-19 vaccine by telling people they wouldn’t have to wear a mask if they got it. Nearly 60% of Americans have received at least one dose.
The eased mask requirements marked a win for the Biden administration, which has presented the ongoing vaccination campaign and response to the coronavirus pandemic as its core initiative.
Fox News’ Kristina Biddle contributed to this report.