Pelosi announces coronavirus masks will be required in House chamber

After Rep. Louie Gohmert appears to be the 11th member of Congress to test positive for coronavirus, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced Wednesday that masks will be required in the House of Representatives chamber.

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She said she is vested in this authority to dictate decorum in the House, and she called the mask mandate a “paramount responsibility in the presence of a pandemic.”

She added that she can ask the Sergeant at Arms to remove members who are not wearing masks.

She said: “Members and staff will be required to wear masks at all times in the hall of the House. The chair expects all members and staff to adhere to this requirement as an item of respect. Members and staff will not be permitted to enter the hall of the House without wearing a mask. The Speaker views the failure to wear the mask as a serious breach of decorum.”

In addition, effective Thursday morning, everyone entering House office buildings will be required to wear a mask, with only some exceptions. People giving speeches or interviews in those buildings will need to ensure everyone else stays six feet away.

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Gohmert is the latest in a growing string of Trump aides and politicians who have contracted the virus.

Gohmert, who has been prone not to wear a mask around Capitol Hill, tested positive for coronavirus in advance of his planned travel with President Trump to Texas Wednesday and had to be removed from the trip.

Gohmert, R-Texas, was expected to travel aboard Air Force One with the president for campaign fundraising and an energy event at a Midland oil rig. He and others who are in close proximity to the president would have been subjected to routine COVID-19 screening.

Gohmert on Wednesday afternoon posted a video on social media to confirm that he had tested positive but said, “I’m asymptomatic.”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

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