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White House to get cleaned up

White House to receive additional deep cleaning COVID-proofing

As the United States prepares for the incoming Biden administration, alongside the usual new cabinet and staff appointments, the White House itself is preparing for a more thorough cleaning than usual.

According to a CNNreport, all 55,000 square feet of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is to receive a deep clean and COVID-proofing when President Donald Trump departs on 19 January, the day before Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to a spokesperson from the General Services Administration (GSA).

Usually, the cleaning happens within a six-hour window during Inauguration Day ceremonies as the teams switch over, however with President Trump moving out 24 hours beforehand and with the new administration reportedly staying overnight at a Washington hotel on the night of the inauguration, the extra time will allow for the additional precautions to take place smoothly.

The White House is believed to be the site of multiple separate SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks during 2020, with many infections reported to have occurred during non-socially distanced, mask-less events. The cleaning and disinfection will cover all contact and touchpoints such as furniture, handrails, doorknobs and light switches, while a private contractor will provide disinfectant misting surfaces.

Government purchase orders and contracts for the inaugural cleaning total nearly $500,000. This includes Manassas, Virginia-based contract cleaners Didlake Inc, a custodial and housekeeping services provider certified through ISSA’s Cleaning Industry Management Standard (CIMS), who were chosen for a $127,000 contract. Didlake is known for employing people with disabilities for housekeeping and janitorial jobs.

Other costs include $44,000 for carpet cleaning, over $29,000 for curtain cleaning in the East and West Wings as well as the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, $37,975 for trash removal and recycling, while $50,000 has also been allocated for overtime pay.

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