Masks will once again be universally required on the House side of the Capitol amid the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, the Capitol physician announced late Tuesday night.
The resumption of the House mask mandate — just over a month after it was lifted — comes after new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) earlier Tuesday recommending that vaccinated people should wear masks in high-risk areas.
“To be clear, for meetings in an enclosed US House of Representatives controlled space, masks are REQUIRED,” a memo from the Capitol physician, Brian Monahan, states.
Monahan said that masks are justified given that members of Congress hail from all over the country, where some areas — primarily conservative-leaning — are seeing a surge in COVID-19 amid low vaccination rates.
“For the Congress, representing a collection of individuals traveling weekly from various risk areas (both high and low rates of disease transmission), all individuals should wear a well-fitted, medical-grade filtration mask (for example an ear loop surgical mask or a KN95 mask) when they are in an interior space,” Monahan wrote.
Most people in the Capitol were largely forgoing masks in recent weeks after the Capitol physician announced last month that they were no longer required for people vaccinated against COVID-19.
But many lawmakers and staffers began wearing masks voluntarily again last week following news that Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.), a staffer for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and a White House official all tested positive for COVID-19 de… (Read more)