Mar 29, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden urges governors to reinstate mask mandates: "This is not politics"

President Biden on Monday pleaded with governors, mayors and local leaders to maintain or reinstate mask mandates in order to help America reach the end of the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Biden's comments came hours after CDC Director Rochelle Walensky warned of her sense of "impending doom" of a potential fourth wave of COVID-19 cases.

The big picture: While vaccines are rolling out across the country, masking and social distancing is still highly encouraged by public health experts to help protect the nation from another wave. But many state and local lawmakers are lifting COVID-19 restrictions, including mask orders.

  • Even in states where governors lift masking orders, local authorities can still mandate masks, as can business owners.
  • The Centers for Disease Control has determined that fully vaccinated people can gather indoors in small groups without masks and still be safe.

What he's saying: "This is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down, and businesses should require masks as well," Biden said in an address about a new expansion in COVID vaccine sites.

  • "The failure to take this virus seriously [is] precisely what got us into this mess in the first place," he added.

Go deeper: Biden says 90% of Americans will have access to vaccine site within 5 miles by April 19

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