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In Biden’s White House, Masks, Closed Doors and Empty Halls

She added, “Is going to work ever any fun?”

The new White House rules were drafted by Anne Filipic, the director of management and administration, and Jeffrey Wexler, the director of Covid-19 operations. Jennifer O’Malley Dillon, who served as Mr. Biden’s campaign manager and is now a deputy chief of staff, has also been overseeing their being carried out.

White House officials said it was a continuation of the approach to the virus Mr. Biden took when he was a candidate and his advisers first raised the dangers of shaking hands along a rope line of supporters. “His question is always, ‘What do the docs say?’” Ms. Dunn said. “Taking direction from the doctors has always driven the decisions.”

Even stringent precautions cannot protect everyone in the Biden orbit. In December, Cedric Richmond, the former congressman named by Mr. Biden to be the director of the office of public engagement, tested positive for the coronavirus. In October, Kamala Harris had to pull down her travel schedule after two people who had traveled with her tested positive.

Senior officials said their goal was to avoid of the fate of the Trump White House, which took few precautions and ended up with a large portion of senior staff — as well as the president, the first lady and their teenage son, Barron Trump — infected with the coronavirus.

All West Wing staff members are still tested daily even though a growing number of administration officials are getting vaccinated. The whole arrangement has led to some awkward moments in hallways, when staff members do not recognize each other because everyone is required to wear an N95 mask and many have opted to double-mask, officials said.

So far, officials said, the measures appeared to be working. But they concede that it is a difficult way to run a White House, just as it was a difficult way to run a campaign and a presidential transition.

“Adjusting to doing most meetings via video and doing most of our work with colleagues remotely has not been a massive leap,” said Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary. “It has been a long adjustment as humans to not being able to hug old colleagues or shake hands with new ones, but so far we don’t feel that it is prevented us from doing our jobs.”

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