White House to host ‘Fall Garden Tours’ this year, despite issues with health and safety

The White House is set to host “Fall Garden Tours” for lawmakers and the public this season to show off the newly renovated Rose Garden. 

The tours will be hosted Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, even after more than 20 staffers, journalists, allies of the administration and GOP lawmakers tested positive for coronavirus following contact with the White House. 

The tours are free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Visitors will be able to tour the South Lawn, First Ladies Garden, White House Kitchen Garden and Rose Garden.

Guest capacity is limited, and visitors are required to wear a face mask. Tickets will be offered to all congressional offices. 

President Trump and first lady Melania tested positive for COVID-19 last week, but White House physician Dr. Sean Conley announced the president will be able to return to public engagements this weekend. 


“Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the president’s safe return to public engagements at that time,” he said. 

Other White House staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 at this point include senior adviser Hope Hicks and director of Oval Office operations Nick Luna. Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien also tested positive.


Former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany announced they tested positive this week, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who helped Trump prep for the presidential debate, remains hospitalized from the virus. 

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White House Announces 2020 Fall Garden Tours

This fall, the White House will open its gardens and grounds to visitors.  The grounds will be open on Saturday, October 17, 2020 from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM, and Sunday, October 18, from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM.

Visitors will have the opportunity to discover firsthand the beauty of the South Lawn, First Ladies Garden, White House Kitchen Garden, and the newly renovated Rose Garden. In August of 2020, First Lady Melania Trump unveiled the restoration the iconic Rose Garden.

This event is free and open to the public, however, a ticket is required for all attendees (including small children).  The National Park Service (NPS) will distribute free, timed tickets near the public entrance at the corner of 15th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest throughout each tour day. The entry point for all guests will be located near the intersection of 15th Street and Constitution Avenue Northwest. Please arrive 15 minutes before your preferred entry time. Please note, tickets will be distributed every half hour—one ticket per person—on a first-come, first-served basis.

Guests attending Fall Garden Tours at the White House should expect the following precautions to be taken during their visit:

  • Guest capacity is limited and event hours are extended.
  • All guests (ages 2 years and over) are required to wear a face covering and practice social distancing during their visit to the White House complex.
  • Social distancing will be encouraged during the check-in process.
  • Hand sanitizer will be available throughout the tour route.

Please note the following items are not allowed on the White House grounds:

  • Aerosols, ammunition, animals other than service/guide animals, backpacks and bags exceeding size restrictions (18” x 13” x 7”), balloons, bicycles and scooters, coolers, drones and other unmanned aircraft systems, e-cigarettes, electronic tablets, explosives, firearms, folding chairs, glass, thermal, or metal containers, laser pointers, mace/pepper spray, packages, selfie sticks, signs and flags of any kind, structures, supports for signs and placards, tents, toy guns, umbrellas with metal tips, weapons of any kind, and any other items determined to be potential safety hazards.

The Secret Service reserves the right to prohibit any other personal items.  Please note that strollers, wheelchairs, umbrellas (no metal tips), and cameras are permitted.  All items needed for medical purposes will be permitted on the tour (such as wheelchairs, electric scooters, glucose tablets, and EpiPens).  Please identify and explain all items needed for medical purposes to Secret Service agents upon arrival.

To check the status of Garden Tours in the event of inclement weather, please call the 24-hour information line at (202) 456-7041.

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White House announces socially distanced fall garden tours

The White House is opening its grounds for its annual fall garden tours amid the coronavirus pandemic, giving socially distanced visitors a first look at the Rose Garden’s recent makeover.

The free tours will be held on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, the White House announced on Wednesday.

“Visitors will have the opportunity to discover firsthand the beauty of the South Lawn, First Ladies Garden, White House Kitchen Garden, and the newly renovated Rose Garden,” a statement said.

The Rose Garden got its new look in August. The White House hasn’t disclosed how much the refresh cost, but has said the funds were obtained by private donations.

The National Park Service oversees the care and upkeep of the White House’s outdoor spaces.

All guests over the age of 2 will be required to wear face masks and to practice social distancing while touring the White House grounds, guidance about the October event stated.

The National Park Service is poised to distribute free, timed tickets for the fall tours on a first-come, first-served basis at the corner of 15th Street and Constitution Avenue during each of the event’s dates.

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In 35th Farm Aid Preview, Brandi Carlile Tours Her Garden & Chris Vos Gets Emotional About His Farming Family: Exclusive

The festival’s online format will highlight Farm Aid’s real superstars—the family farmers who grow the nation’s food.

When Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid stages its 35th anniversary festival on Sept. 26, the all-star event will be unlike any virtual concert yet seen during the pandemic.

Farm Aid 2020 On The Road will stream can’t-miss performances from its most expansive and diverse artist lineup in years.

The organization’s guiding foursome of Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews will be joined by Norah Jones, Black Pumas, Bonnie Raitt and Boz Scaggs, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Edie Brickell with Charlie Sexton, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Jon Batiste, Kelsey Waldon, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Particle Kid, The Record Company, Valerie June and The War And Treaty.

But the festival’s online format also will highlight Farm Aid’s real superstars—the family farmers who grow the nation’s food, the men and women whom Nelson sought to help when he launched Farm Aid with its first concert in Champaign, Ill., on Sept. 22, 1985. Since then, Farm Aid—the longest-running concert for a cause— has raised nearly $60 million to support family farmers and a sustainable agriculture system.

And for Farm Aid’s performers, this is personal. In videos provided exclusively to Billboard in advance of the festival, Brandi Carlile offers a tour of her garden as she harvests late-season vegetables—and Chris Vos, lead singer of The Record Company, offers an emotional tribute to his dairy-farming father and his grandfather, who worked the land before him.

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected communities of color, and amid another season of severe weather, driven by climate change, Farm Aid warns that thousands of family farmers may be driven out of business. The sustainable agricultural methods of family farmers, meanwhile, are viewed as essential to addressing climate change.

“This pandemic and so many other challenges have revealed how essential family farmers and ranchers are to the future of our planet,” says Nelson. “Farm Aid 2020 is going to give the whole country a chance to learn about the important work of farmers and how they’re contributing to our well-being, beyond bringing us good food.”

Farm Aid’s videos of family farmers help illustrate the organization’s intersecting causes of sustainable food, economic recovery from the pandemic, and the call for racial justice.

“This year has been challenging for us all,” says Black farmer Angie Provost, speaking beside her husband June, in front of a tractor at the Provost Farm, which raises sugarcane in Louisiana. In its videos, Farm Aid challenges the image most may still have of the independent American farmer. In the three-plus-decades since Farm Aid helped launch the Good Food movement, a new generation—young, diverse, committed to sustainability—has turned to farming.

The farmers get an emotional boost from Farm Aid and the personal perspective of artists like Brandi Carlile. “This is my garden,” says Carlile in a Farm Aid video, climbing down from an off-road vehicle beside the plot she

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Winchester Mystery House set to reopen this weekend with self-guided tours

San Jose’s Winchester Mystery House is set to reopen Saturday after months of closure amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Santa Clara County moved from the purple tier to the red tier in the state’s reopening plan on Tuesday, and was subsequently allowed to reopen a number of indoor businesses. The Mystery House attempted to reopen in July, but was forced to close after just one day when Santa Clara County was placed on the now-scrapped state watch list.

The attraction’s staff noted that the tours will be “self-guided” to better allow for social distancing. Masks will be required at all times.

“The Self-Guided Mansion Tour has been built with social distancing protocols in mind, with one way tour paths and features the larger rooms in the mansion,” the Mystery House’s website states. “Guests will be able to experience the house like never before, with ample space and time in each room.  Tour at your own pace in your space.”

All employees and guests will be asked health screening questions upon entering the property, and anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher will be denied entry.

In addition, staff will be stationed throughout the mansion to ensure that tour groups maintain adequate physical distancing from one another. Capacity has been reduced, and all tickets have to be purchased online in advance.

Eric Ting is an SFGATE reporter. Email: [email protected] | Twitter:@_ericting

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