President Biden's first-ever State of the Union address is rapidly approaching, and of course, Americans can expect him to touch on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — including, presumably, the Centers for Disease Control's updated mask guidance, which advised residents in counties with a low or medium level of community transmission that it was safe to go maskless indoors.
Washington, D.C. currently falls within that low risk category, notes The Hill. What's more, as of Tuesday, the White House lifted its mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals, just in time for the president's hallmark speech, to which all members of Congress were invited, reports The New York Times. Additionally, the Capitol physician on Sunday lifted the House mask mandate, per ABC News (a formal mask requirement was never enforced in the Senate, notes Roll Call).
Well, at least one attendee plans to heed the Capitol physician's and CDC's advice — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) confirmed Tuesday she would not wear a mask during the president's address, though she noted that if she "if I had little children or if I were around little grandchildren, I would."
"I'm not going to be wearing a mask tonight. If I had little children or I were around little grandchildren, I would, because some of them would not be vaccinated," she told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell. "Or if I were around a person or were a person with ... some kind of a condition that would make me susceptible to it."
"So I think people have to use their judgment about it," she concluded.
Anyone who chooses to attend Biden's speech is still nonetheless required to take a COVID-19 test before entering the chamber, adds The Associated Press.