The House is reimposing a mask mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new coronavirus guidance recommending fully vaccinated individuals to wear personal protective masks in certain indoor situations.
Brian Monahan, the Capitol’s attending physician, issued a memo late Tuesday announcing the updated rules less than two months after the House lifted its mask mandate for fully vaccinated lawmakers and staff.
“For all House Office Buildings, the Hall of the House, and House Committee Meetings, wearing of a well-fitted, medical grade, filtration face mask is required when an individual is in an interior space and other individuals are present. To be clear, for meetings in an enclosed US House of Representatives controlled space, masks are REQUIRED,” said Monahan, who warned fines will be levied against violators.
Masks are not required in indoor spaces when an individual is alone, and there are some exceptions, Monahan added. His memo did not mention the Senate side.
The CDC updated its guidance on Thursday as a form of protection, particularly in hot spots for the highly transmissible delta variant, which is fueling spikes in COVID-19 cases nationwide. The announcement prompted criticism from Republicans, who accused the agency of choosing “politics, not science.”
The White House also ordered all its staff to wear masks as the number of cases in the nation’s capital is on the rise.