May 11, 2021 - Health

Pelosi says members can remove masks when addressing the House

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Tuesday that members will be allowed to remove their masks on the House floor while recognized to address the chamber.

Why it matters: The move is a relaxing of the House's COVID-19 safety guidelines. Pelosi introduced a mask requirement in July 2020 after several Republican members refused to wear them.

  • In December she warned members that those who refused to weak masks on the floor wouldn't be granted speaking time, per The Hill.

The big picture: Masks will still be required when members are not speaking on the floor, and Pelosi noted that the new guidelines are in accordance with recommendations from the Capitol's attending physician.

What they're saying: "To be clear, members and staff must wear masks in the hall of the House at all times, except that a member may remove their mask when recognized by the chair," she said.

  • "In addition, members presiding as chair may remove their mask when speaking."
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