Members, staff and visitors may not be able to wear masks in the interior space if they are fully vaccinated, according to updated guidance sent out Friday from Congress’ attending physician, Dr. Brian Monahan.
Those who are not fully vaccinated must still wear masks and keep social distance.
A senior Democratic aide told CNN that a decrease in community transmission and increased vaccination rates led to the announcement, with the Capitol Hill complex now having an 85% vaccination rate.
According to a CNN survey from May, 100% of congressional Democrats and 92% of Republicans in the Senate have been vaccinated against Covid-19, while only 44.8% of Republicans have been vaccinated. peace in the House of Commons.
During the height of the pandemic last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asked all members and aides to wear masks in the chambers of the House unless they were speaking, after a GOP member of the House of Representatives has tested positive for Covid-19.
While the Senate decided not to implement any of the mask requirements, the House’s mask rules have become an increasing focal point among members.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance May 13 so that fully vaccinated Americans do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors. except in certain cases.
Despite updated CDC guidance, Monahan informed the members
that same day the mask must still be worn on the floor. Pelosi later said that the chamber would keep its mask rule in place until more members of Congress were vaccinated.
That led some Republican lawmakers to intentionally flout the House mask rules, leading to them being slapped with numerous fines and warnings for their defiant behavior. Minority leader Kevin McCarthy also tried unsuccessfully to raise the bar.
But even before the CDC updated its guidance, some House Republicans refused to wear masks last year, claiming they were uncomfortable, difficult to talk to or, like the state Rep. Louisiana Clay Higgins told CNN, wearing a mask is “part of the dehumanization process. of God’s children.”