Pelosi says House floor mask mandate to remain, despite contrary CDC guidance

Despite the welcome news this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) made the baffling announcement that she will continue to require face coverings inside the lower chamber, as the Washington Examiner reports.

Millions of Americans rejoiced on Thursday when the CDC revised its guidance to reflect that fully vaccinated individuals need not don face mask or maintain six feet of social distance in the majority of indoor and outdoor settings, as CNBC noted.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky declared, “Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.”

President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris embraced the news in a public display that same day, speaking in the White House Rose Garden maskless, even embracing in a show of enthusiasm over the new sense of freedom the CDC’s announcement seemed to unleash, according to Politico.

Lawmakers hailed the news as well, with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) noting that while in a meeting with Biden and others on Thursday, the assembled participants happily whisked off their masks in keeping with the CDC’s advice. Upon hearing the news of the change in guidance, GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine removed her face covering and twirled it in the air in the upper chamber, Politico further noted.

Pelosi, however, was not moved, telling CNN’s Manu Raju that she has no plans to life the mask mandate inside the House chamber. When asked whether her colleague would be permitted to go without face coverings in light of the CDC’s new guidance, she replied, “No. …Are they all vaccinated?

The House speaker took this perplexing stance despite the fact that the chamber’s attending physician sent an email to staff at the Capitol informing them of the CDC’s changes and indicating that vaccinated people no longer need masks in most parts of the House portion of the government complex, though the communication did add that face coverings would still be mandated in the Hall of the House “until all Members and floor staff” receive vaccinations, the Examiner added.

Given that Pelosi herself has acknowledged her inability to know for certain who has been vaccinated and who has not, since “It’s a matter of privacy,” it remains unclear how long masks will continue to be worn in the House chamber, a prospect that Republican Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina says makes the speaker look “ridiculous.”

GOP Rep. Brian Mast of Florida expressed his disgust over Pelosi’s bizarre edict on Thursday, saying, “It’s not about science. It’s all about power,” giving voice to a sentiment with which legions of pandemic-fatigued Americans are likely to agree.