The House of Representatives’ mask mandate will be dropped ahead of Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, after months of GOP battles against Democrat lawmakers on removing it.
According to a report from the Daily Wire, mask-wearing is “optional,” as stated in a notice from Capitol physician Brian P. Monahan.
Axios reported on Monday that Monahan claimed new data on Covid cases was the underlying motivation for dropping the mask mandate.
“The Washington DC region is now in the ‘green level’ or low level in this new CDC schema allowing for reduction in coronavirus prevention measures such as coronavirus testing frequency and indoor mask wear,” he said.
However, GOP lawmakers have been pressuring Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to drop the mask mandate for months.
In February, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., and 29 colleagues in the House sent a letter to Speaker Pelosi, pressuring her to toss the mask mandate, as previously reported by RSBN. Biggs stated on Twitter, “This has gone on long enough. There is no reason to keep our Capitol closed and to continue enforcing the draconian mask mandate.”
Additionally, multiple GOP House members have been fined for refusing to comply with the mask mandate over the past year. According to the RSBN report, these members include Reps. Mary Miller (Ill.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa), Chip Roy (Texas), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Brian Mast (Fla.), Beth Van Duyne (Texas), and Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.).
This shift in mask mandate protocol comes on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement last week that most Americans would no longer need to wear masks in indoor settings.
Despite the rollback on masking, the House still advises that those who test positive for Covid or experience any Covid-like symptoms wear N95 or KN95 masks. Quarantine and isolation restrictions still apply, according to the Axios report.
The House Judiciary GOP remarked on Twitter that the timing of the rollback on masks was “convenient” ahead of the State of the Union address.