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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."

Go deeper

Tens of thousands of U.S. students quarantining or isolating due to COVID

A staff member performs temperature checks on students as they arrive on the first day of classes in Orlando, Fla. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The school year has just started, and already tens of thousands of students and school staff members across the U.S. are isolating or quarantining after testing positive or possibly being exposed to COVID-19, school districts and other officials said this week.

Why it matters: The announcements come as health officials report an alarming number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 and amid tense debates over whether masks should be mandated for students and teachers.

Aug 19, 2021 - Health

Washington state announces strictest school vaccine mandate in U.S.

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee during a 2020 news conference in Seattle. Photo: Karen Ducey/Getty Images

All Washington state teachers and school staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 under a new employment condition announced by Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The requirement that includes school bus drivers and volunteers in the public and private sectors marks the strictest vaccine mandate for schools in the U.S. Staff have to be vaccinated by Oct. 18 or face the threat of being fired.

Updated Dec 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.