Congress drops mask mandates ahead of Biden’s State of the Union Address
03/01/2022 // Ramon Tomey // Views

Congress has dropped Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) mask mandates ahead of President Joe Biden's State of the Union Address. The move follows the new guidance issued by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding face coverings on Feb. 25.

Rear Adm. Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress and the Supreme Court, rescinded the legislature's mask mandate on Feb. 27. He cited the CDC's new system that classified Washington, D.C. as a "green level" area for the move. Under the public health agency's new rules, green level areas are considered low risk for the spread of COVID-19.

"Individuals may choose to mask at any time, but it is no longer a requirement," Monahan's announcement stated. He also mentioned that this voluntary masking would also apply to Biden's State of the Union Address scheduled on March 1. "KN95 or N95 mask wearing is no longer required and mask wear is now an individual choice option."

Monahan's edict appeared to be a complete reversal from an earlier announcement by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). She echoed initial guidelines from House Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker first issued in early February 2021. According to Pelosi, attendees violating social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines during Biden's address would "result in the attendee's removal." (Related: White House reinstitutes COVID-19 mask mandate for federal buildings, even for "fully vaccinated" people.)

Despite the relaxed mask-wearing requirements, some COVID-19 measures remain in place. Everyone attending the State of the Union Address will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing prior to entering the chamber. Furthermore, "people with symptoms, a positive [COVID-19] test [result] or exposure to someone with COVID-19 should wear a properly fitted, high-quality filtration mask."


"I think you're going to see it look much more like a normal state of the union [address] than the president's joint address. It's going to look like the most normal thing people have seen in Washington, [D.C.] in a long time," White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said.

GOP politicians denounce lifting of mask mandates as "political theater"

According to an earlier report by the Daily Mail, the CDC's decision to revise mask guidelines – which Monahan based his edict on – came amid the B11529 omicron strain changing the nature of COVID-19 in the United States. First identified in South Africa, the more infectious variant that has become the most dominant in the U.S. causes only mild symptoms in infected individuals.

"Anybody is certainly welcome to wear a mask at any time, if they feel safer wearing a mask. We want to make sure our hospitals are OK and people are not coming in with severe disease. Anyone can go to the CDC website, find out the volume of disease in their community and make that decision," CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said during a news briefing about the new guidelines.

Mandatory face coverings have been required in Capitol Hill for the entire two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. These had also been an issue of contention in the legislature, with some Republican lawmakers racking up huge fines for violating mask mandates on the floor. Given these, GOP legislators have denounced the relaxing of measures as "political theater" designed to make Biden's address look good.

At least two GOP legislators took to social media to decry the move. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) wrote a tweet denouncing the House speaker, who is also a Californian. "And just like that, Pelosi cancels her pointless mask mandate in Congress so Biden can do the same in his speech. Nobody is buying this," he tweeted.

Nevada State Rep. Jim Wheeler echoed Issa's sentiment. He tweeted: "So Pelosi lifted the mask mandate in Congress one day before the president's [address.] Ain't (political) science wonderful?"

More related stories:

CDC recommendation to bring back mask mandates spurs intense backlash.

Biden wants to enact a federal a mask mandate immediately after inauguration.

Governments left and right just won't stop tyrannizing people with mask mandates.

Watch David Knight of "The David Knight Show" talking about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's mask mandates for legislators below.

This video is from The David Knight Show channel on has more stories about COVID-19 mask mandates on Capitol Hill.

Sources include: 1 2 1 2

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