July 30, 2020 at 6:46 AM EDT
Starting this morning, face masks required on House side of Capitol
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has directed that, starting Thursday morning, all House members and staff on her side of the Capitol complex must wear face coverings, with very limited exceptions, and will be asked to leave if they don’t.
The directive, distributed late Wednesday by the House sergeant at arms and attending physician, expands on a requirement announced earlier in the day by Pelosi that members must wear masks while appearing on the House floor.
The moves were spurred by the news that Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), a lawmaker who has spurned facial coverings, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Wednesday night directive lists only a few exceptions, such as when one is eating or drinking or granting an interview, provided that the member is six feet away from the person conducting the interview.
“Any person not wearing a face cover will be asked to put on a face cover or leave the building,” the directive says. “All Members and staff are expected to adhere to this requirement as a sign of respect for the health, safety, and well-being of others present in the Chamber and surrounding areas.”
Gohmert revealed Wednesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before he was expected to travel on Air Force One with President Trump to his home state. Gohmert has been part of a contingent of a couple dozen House Republicans who often do not wear masks around the Capitol.
By John Wagner and Paul Kane
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