The Capitol’s attending physician announced late Tuesday night that masks are once again compulsory on the House side of the Capitol building, regardless of vaccination status.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a new mask guidance Tuesday to recommend vaccinated people wear a mask in certain areas. Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the Capitol’s attending physician, issued a memo to representatives and staff members that face coverings will be required for both the entrance and the entire duration of stay while inside the Capitol building on the House side, according to The Hill.
MASK MANDATE: Capitol’s attending physician reinstates mask mandate inside Capitol complex on the House side due to COVID-19 surge pic.twitter.com/dCxFyZFAfd
— Scott Wong (@scottwongDC) July 28, 2021
NEW: Capitol’s attending physician reimposes an indoor mask mandate for House office buildings, committee rooms and the chamber.
Here’s the alert sent out just now to staff 👇 pic.twitter.com/51CrRCvCsl
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) July 28, 2021
The new rule is similar to the previous mask mandate, dictating that failure to comply can result in denied entry and fines. The few exceptions to the mask mandate include when an individual is alone, or in ceremonial situations such as when a representative is addressing the chair of a committee, or “as a part of recognition by a Presiding Officer,” Monahan noted in his memo. (RELATED: Republican Rep. Appeals $500 Pelosi Fine For Not Wearing A Mask On House Floor)
Monahan cites the concerns over rising cases in several parts of the U.S. due to the Delta variant of coronavirus, and for high-risk individuals.
Over 85% of lawmakers had already been fully vaccinated as of early June, according to Forbes. Several studies have examined the efficacy of common coronavirus vaccines. A U.K. study found that two doses of the Pfizer vaccine provide 88% of efficacy against the Delta variant, while another study, pending peer review, found that even a single dose of Pfizer and Moderna was 66% and 83% effective against the new strain, respectively. (RELATED: Is A Coronavirus Vaccine More Effective Than ‘Natural Immunity’?)
Former CDC Director Robert Redfield claimed on national television in late February that coronavirus posed a low threat and that Americans need to resume “their normal lives,” according to USA Today. President Biden has also announced in May that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask. (RELATED: ‘So, It Was Theater’: Political And Conservative Commentators React To Fauci Admitting Vaccinated Didn’t Need To Wear Masks)
The Senate has not yet announced any changes regarding face-covering requirements, according to The Hill.