Former present Barack Obama will scale back his 60th birthday party, which was expected to be a largely attended event on Martha’s Vineyard this weekend, due to concerns about Covid-19, The New York Times reports.
“Due to the new spread of the Delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends,” Hannah Hankins, a spokeswoman for Obama, said in a statement. “He’s appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.”
The party was reportedly expected to draw a crowd of hundreds, including former administration officials, donors, and even celebrities like George Clooney, Steven Spielberg, and Oprah Winfrey (per The New York Post). Some Covid safety precautious had been in place, with the party set to take place outdoors and the Obamas asking attendees to get tested before the event and submit their results to a “coronavirus coordinator.”
“They’ve been concerned about the virus from the beginning, asking invited guests if they had been vaccinated, requesting that they get a test proximate to the event,” former Obama adviser David Axelrod said. “But when this was planned, the situation was quite different. So they responded to the changing circumstances.”
Still, the event had drawn some criticism, especially from Republican politicians like Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said the party was “not a good idea” on Tuesday, August 3rd.