Pelosi to require masks on House floor

The Hill reports Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that masks will be mandatory on the House floor, after a GOP lawmaker who has at times flouted the health recommendation tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day.

“Members and staff will be required to wear masks at all times in the hall of the House except that members may remove their masks temporarily when recognized,” Pelosi said from the House floor.

Pelosi warned that lawmakers and staff without masks will not be permitted to enter the House chamber and risk removal by the Sergeant at Arms if they don’t comply.

Pelosi said that the mask requirement is “a sign of respect for the health, safety and well-being of others present in the chamber and surrounding areas.”

The mask requirement on the House floor comes hours after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tested positive for COVID-19. Gohmert has been among the handful of GOP lawmakers spotted on the House floor in recent weeks without a mask while mingling with colleagues.

As recently as Tuesday, the Texas Republican did not wear a mask while outside a House Judiciary Committee hearing room. He also initially did not have a mask on while inside the hearing room.

Public health experts, backed by multiple studies, say that masks are an effective way to prevent spread of viral droplets.