‘No – are they all vaccinated?’ Pelosi says she won’t change rules on masks on House floor

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<p>Nancy Pelosi after a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on 13 May, 2021</p> (AP)

Nancy Pelosi after a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on 13 May, 2021


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that masks will be required for members and staff on the floor of the House until they were all fully vaccinated.

She was asked by CNN if there will be a change in the rule requiring masks on the House floor. “No,” Ms Pelosi said, then asked, “Are they all vaccinated?”

Her comment came as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday advised that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear masks or socially distance.

CDC director Dr Rochelle Walensky said: “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor or outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing.”

Fully vaccinated people are those who are two weeks past their last Covid-19 vaccine dose.

After the CDC announcement, some House Republicans called on Ms Pelosi to lift the mask mandate that was issued last year. Her spokesperson told Bloomberg that Ms Pelosi is not easing the requirement because it’s not known how many House members and their staffs are vaccinated.

Ms Pelosi had estimated last month that roughly 75 per cent of the House members have been vaccinated. She had also refused to compel members to get vaccinated, saying it’s a matter of “privacy.”

Brian Monahan, the Capitol physician, also said in a memo later that the mask requirement would not change till all members and floor staff are fully vaccinated, according to New York Post.

Ms Pelosi had relaxed the rule this week and allowed lawmakers to remove their masks when recognised to speak. She had said that members and staff must wear masks in the hall of the House at all times, except “that a member may remove their mask when recognised by the chair.”

When the mask mandate was announced in July last year, Ms Pelosi had allowed members to remove their masks temporarily when recognised to speak. As Covid-19 cases soared in the US, the rule was tightened in December and she said lawmakers would have to keep their masks on throughout their speeches on the floor.

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