BOSTON (CBS) – Former President Barack Obama is expected to hold a large 60th birthday party this weekend on Martha's Vineyard with several hundred people in attendance. Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday, however, that he doesn't believe the event is a good idea with COVID cases on the rise.
Baker, the state's Republican governor, was asked at his press conference if he received an invitation to the party, which is set for Friday.
"No. But I can tell you If I were invited I would have declined. Because I think 700 people at an event like that is not a good idea," Baker said. "It's a judgement call all the way around, but that's the beauty of judgement calls. We can all make our own decision about what we think is most appropriate to us."
The event will reportedly be held outside, follow protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and include a COVID safety coordinator at the venue.
Baker said that COVID can still be dangerous for people with multiple health conditions and older people, even if vaccinated.
"Any big group that involves people who fall into those categories, I think people should either put them off, or be really careful," Baker said. "Because for some of us who don't fall into those categories, maybe COVID's not as big of a deal, especially if you are vaccinated. But even if you are vaccinated, among some of those more vulnerable populations, you should be very careful. By the way, no one's going to know who's vaccinated or not at that, based on what I've heard."
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about the event on Monday. She said Martha's Vineyard is currently considered at moderate, not high or substantial, risk for COVID-19 spread. She also said the party will have testing requirements and other measures in place.
"The (new CDC) guidance is about what steps people can take when they're in public settings, indoor settings specifically was the new guidance, to keep themselves and other safe," Psaki said.
Psaki was then asked if she believes the party sends the wrong message.
"We certainly advise everyone to follow public health guidelines, which I know the former president, who is a huge advocate of getting vaccinated, of following the guidance of public health experts, would certainly advocate for himself," she said.
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