House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday evening that all Congressional members and staff will be required to wear a mask in the Capitol.
“Members and staff will be required to wear masks in the halls of the House,” Pelosi told lawmakers on the House floor.
Pelosi’s announcement comes after GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert tested positive for the virus earlier this week. Masks will be provided for members that forget. The mandate is set to go into effect by 8 a.m. Thursday.
The Speaker also said that failing to comply with the Congressional mask mandate is a “serious breach of decorum” and threatened that members can be removed from the chamber by the sergeant at arms.
“It’s a sign of respect for the health, safety, and well-being of others present in the chamber and in surrounding areas,” Pelosi added.
According to the Associated Press, some GOP senators have also pushed for regular testing in the chamber. There are currently no testing protocols in place.
“I think particularly for members of Congress who are going back-and-forth, they represent sort of the perfect petri dish for how you spread a disease,” Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said, “You send 535 people out to 535 different locations, on about 1,000 different airplanes, and bring them back and see what happens.”
Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers also announced a statewide mask mandate through September 28 after declaring a public health emergency.