The party for the nation’s 44th president will go on… but only for family and close friends.
Former President Barack Obama has scaled back his massive 60th birthday bash set for this weekend at his Martha’s Vineyard home off the Massachusetts coast after heavy criticism.
There has been a surge of coronavirus infections nationwide blamed on the delta variant of the coronavirus.
Attendance is now limited to family and close friends. Published reports had said hundreds of celebrities, politicos, and others were expected at Obama’s sprawling mansion.
Sponsored: “Fruit Secret” for Better Blood Pressure
“This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place,” Obama spokesperson Hannah Hankins said in a statement. “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.”
“President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon,” Hankins added.
The two-term president turned 60 on Wednesday. Some conservatives criticized the plans for a massive birthday celebration after details about the event were published this week.
“If the CDC doesn’t recommend Obama cancel his birthday party, don’t listen when they recommend you shut down your business,” conservative activist Charlie Kirk tweeted on Monday.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people — including those fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — resume wearing face coverings in public indoor spaces in areas of “substantial or high transmission” to protect against the delta variant.
Calcium WARNING [sponsored]
Some states and cities also have reinstated mask requirements as infections surge around the country.
The CDC website on Wednesday listed the rate of transmission in Dukes County, Massachusetts, which includes the island of Martha’s Vineyard, as “substantial.”
Experts have urged those with vaccine hesitancy to talk to their personal doctor or trusted medical professional about their concerns.
Both Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have urged Americans to also get their shots and follow public health protocols.
Former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melianna Trump are also fully vaccinated, and have likewise encouraged their supporters to talk to their doctors about the vaccine.
Eggs and senior brains: The surprising truth [sponsored]
President Joe Biden, Obama’s vice president, did not plan to attend the party.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.