- On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that members would be required to keep their mask on while addressing the floor.
- A July mandate applied to the chamber but did not explicitly extend to the house floor.
- The mandate comes as the US death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 300,000, and as 15 members of the House and Senate have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last month.
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As the US passed 300,000 deaths from COVID-19, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi expanded the House of Representatives floor mask requirement on Tuesday. Pelosi's move means that House members will need to wear masks while speaking on the House floor, as they have been required to do when speaking with the media in the chambers.
"Masks will now be required at all times in the hall of the House without exception," Pelosi said at a House session on Tuesday. "Members will not be recognized unless they are wearing a mask and recognition will be withdrawn if they remove the mask while speaking."
Tuesday's move by Pelosi follows a directive her office issued in July requiring masks on the House floor, given an earlier refusal among many House Republicans to wear them.
Initially, mask compliance was relatively respected on the floor, but Pelosi has tightened the requirements after the spread of COVID-19 has increased among representatives in the House and Senate.
At least 36 House and Senate members have tested positive since the start of the pandemic, and fifteen of those positive cases have emerged in the last month as the pandemic worsens.
Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene responded to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's announcement on Twitter, calling the mandate "an oppressive violation of my rights."
Pelosi has also spoken favorably about the incoming administration's plans for a 100-day mask mandate to help curb the pandemic.
In early December, the Capitol's Attending Physician Brian Monahan urged everyone to wear surgical masks "at any time you are in the company of another person, inside or outside," and also called on representatives to not attend receptions and dinners during the holidays.