Politics Mike Pence Defends His Decision Not to Wear Face Mask During Mayo Clinic Visit Pence opted not to wear a protective face mask while touring the Mayo Clinic on Tuesday By Gabrielle Chung Published on April 28, 2020 09:37 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos Vice President Mike Pence (center) speaks to medical professionals at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota last Tuesday, April 28. Photo: Jim Mone/AP/Shutterstock Vice President Mike Pence is speaking out following his visit to Mayo Clinic, during which he was seen without a protective face mask despite the medical facility's policy for visitors to wear one amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 60-year-old opted not to wear a mask while touring the Minnesota hospital on Tuesday. Though many who was visiting the center with the politician — including Food and Drug Administration head Stephen Hahn — wore a mask per the facility's guidelines, Pence went bare-faced as he met with workers and conferred with doctors. He also did not wear a mask while speaking to a Mayo Clinic employee who was donating plasma after recovering from COVID-19. “As Vice President of the United States I'm tested for the coronavirus on a regular basis, and everyone who is around me is tested for the coronavirus," he told reporters following the visit, citing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that indicate wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of the virus by those who have it. "And since I don't have the coronavirus, I thought it'd be a good opportunity for me to be here, to be able to speak to these researchers these incredible healthcare personnel and look them in the eye and say thank you," he continued. Mike Pence. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images Trump Says He Won't Wear a Face Mask in Public Despite Federal Health Officials' Recommendation Per the CDC's website, the agency recommends "wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain." The Mayo Clinic's website also states that their current protocols "require all patients, visitors and staff to wear a face covering or mask while at Mayo Clinic to guard against transmission of COVID-19." According to NBC News, the Mayo Clinic reiterated its guidelines while Pence was still inside the facility with doctors and patients, writing in a since-deleted tweet, "Mayo Clinic had informed @VP of the masking policy prior to his arrival today." Reporters who accompanied Pence on the tour said he was the only person seen inside the facility without a face covering. RELATED VIDEO: Nurse Shares Photos From the COVID-19 Pandemic Frontline: We Have Become 'Closer Than Ever' Melania Trump Implores Others to Wear Face Masks One Week After Donald Trump Said He Won't In early April, the CDC issued out a new advisory for Americans to wear non-medical, cloth face masks if they go out in public. When announcing the new guidance, President Donald Trump said that he personally would not be following the recommendation. “The CDC is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure,” Trump, 73, announced before immediately following up by saying, “It’s voluntary, so you don’t have to do it.” “This is voluntary,” he said. “I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.” As of Tuesday, there have been at least 1,010,641 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 52,927 deaths from coronavirus-related illness. As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.