Participants at a food supply roundtable convened by Vice President Mike Pence in Iowa on May 8 removed their face masks before Pence arrived, according to video from the event posted online.
The session at the West Des Moines headquarters of Hy-Vee grocery stores came hours after Pence’s press secretary tested positive for coronavirus, delaying his flight to Iowa and prompting a scramble inside the White House to identify people who also could have been exposed.
In the video, which was streamed by the Des Moines Register and first posted by The Intercept, executives from Mountaire Farms, Smithfield, Kroger and Tyson Foods remove their face coverings after an unidentified person emerged from backstage and motioned removing a mask.
None of the companies represented immediately responded to a CNN request for comment.
A White House official told CNN the vice president’s advance staff “takes precautions to keep round table participants distanced at at least six feet — meaning you don’t need to wear a mask based on CDC guidance — so to allow for them to not wear masks and have a more engaging dialogue.”
“Participants, who have their temp taken and are screened by physicians, are always more than welcome to do whatever they’d like,” the official said.
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