- The Washington Times - Friday, October 2, 2020

The vice presidential debate Wednesday is still proceeding as planned for now after President Trump’s positive coronavirus diagnosis, according to the University of Utah.

The university is hosting the event in Salt Lake City on Oct. 7.

A university spokesman said Friday that anybody who requests access to the security perimeter and those in the debate hall must test negative for the coronavirus and wear a mask at all times.

Vice President Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala D. Harris both tested negative for the virus Friday.

There will be exceptions for the mask mandate during the debate for Mr. Pence, Ms. Harris, and moderator Susan Page.

According to reporters who were at Tuesday’s debate between Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden, many people on the president’s side of the room, including his four adult children, eschewed the Cleveland Clinic’s requirement that attendees wear masks once they were in their seats.

First lady Melania Trump, who also tested positive for the virus, was spotted wearing a mask as she walked to her seat but eventually took it off, according to Bloomberg’s Tyler Pager.

Mr. Trump himself lampooned Mr. Biden during the debate for his mask-wearing habits.

“Our policy is that everyone must wear a mask,” said Shawn Wood, the University of Utah spokesman, when asked about possible enforcement mechanisms for attendees at the vice presidential debate.

The Cleveland Clinic, the health advisor for the Commission on Presidential Debates, said in a statement Friday that everyone inside the debate hall on Tuesday had tested negative for COVID-19 prior to entry and that they believe there was a low risk of exposure for the guests.

“Individuals entering the debate hall were masked and in some cases removed their masks once seated,” the medical center also said. “A Cleveland Clinic physician did offer audience members masks, but some did not adhere to the requirement.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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