- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 29, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that masks will be required in the House Chamber, and tasked the sergeant at arms with removing members who don’t wear masks except when speaking, saying its a serious breach of decorum.

“Members and staff will be required to wear masks at all times in the hall of the House. Except that members may remove their masks, temporarily, when recognized,” she said.

Another mandate was issued by the sergeant at arms and attending physician later Wednesday night requiring everyone to wear masks in all House Office Buildings.

Exceptions are given for anyone eating, drinking, alone in an enclosed space, has a medical condition, six feet away from others while speaking, or it would endanger public safety. Anyone not in compliance will be removed from the building.

It goes into effect Thursday morning.

The new mandates comes after Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, a prominent resister of mask-wearing, tested positive for coronavirus during White House screening before a planned trip to Texas with President Trump.

Mr. Gohmert is the seventh House lawmaker to test positive for the virus since the outbreak began.

He said Wednesday that he will be quarantining for 10 days.

Mr. Gohmert said he wore a mask during the Barr hearing, although a video clip posted by a reporter from The Hill showed neither man wearing a mask while they were in close proximity in a Capitol hallway.

A few other members, including fellow Texas Republican Rep. Kay Granger, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, and Arizona Democrat Raul Grijalva, House Natural Resources, said they are self-quarantining after being near Mr. Gohmert.

The positive test also spurred talk of reconsidering a covid testing mandate for lawmakers on Capitol Hill, which Mrs. Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected in the spring to save resources for the frontlines.

On CNN Wednesday night, Mrs. Pelosi said in order for there to be any sort of testing mandate in the Capitol, they need to be sure there’s enough resources for everyone, not just lawmakers.

“I will leave the judgment up to the Capitol Physician about whether we have the equipment and the rest to just test members,” she added.

• Gabriella Muñoz can be reached at gmunoz@washingtontimes.com.

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