House lifts mask mandate - for fully vaccinated lawmakers and Capitol staff

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House lifts mask mandate - for fully vaccinated lawmakers and Capitol staff
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) leaves after holding her weekly press conference at the U.S. Capitol on May 20, 2021.Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
  • Fully vaccinated lawmakers and Capitol staffers no longer have to wear masks on the House floor.
  • Capitol attending physician Brian P. Monahan announced the new guidance on Friday.
  • The easing of restrictions come a month after the CDC announced fully vaccinated people can go maskless indoors.

Fully vaccinated members of Congress and staffers are no longer required to wear masks on the House floor, the Capitol attending physician Brian P. Monahan announced Friday.

The updated rules state that lawmakers who are not yet fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must continue to don a face-covering in the chamber. An individual is considered fully vaccinated once they have surpassed the two-week mark from their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The easing of restrictions is consistent with guidance released by the CDC last month, which determined that fully vaccinated individuals can stop wearing masks indoors at gatherings of any size.

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Despite the CDC guidance, Monahan at the time had refused to update House mask-wearing requirements as vaccination rates within the Capitol, especially among Republicans, remained unknown.

When previously criticized by GOP members over the issue, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doubled down on the mask mandate.

"It's not a, shall we way, subjective decision," the top Democrat said last month. "This is about science and governance."

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On Friday, Monahan said that the new rules come "in response to considerable rate of vaccination participation and diminishing daily evidence of disease transmission in our community." According to a senior Democratic aide, Congress has achieved an 85% vaccination rate.

Pelosi's office did not immediately return Insider's request for comment.

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