The Capitol ditches mask the demand before the Union State

WASHINGTON – Foreclosures are now optional for President Joe Biden’s speech on the state of the Union on Tuesday, as Congress lifts the requirement for masks on the floor of the House of Representatives after federal regulators last week softened recommendations by revising the country’s strategy to adapt to a more managed COV. 19.

The Congressional Therapist’s Office announced a policy change on Sunday, repealing a requirement that had been in effect for most of the past two years and became the point of a guerrilla crash on Capitol Hill. A change before the speech will avoid potentially devastating manifestations of national tension and frustration if Biden tries to push the country to go beyond the pandemic.

The capital is now in a low-risk zone according to new indicators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which pay less attention to positive test results and more to what is happening in public hospitals. The new system significantly changes the appearance of the CDC risk map and places more than 70% of the U.S. population in counties where the coronavirus poses a low or medium threat to hospitals. Healthy people in these risk areas may stop wearing masks indoors, the agency said.

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Wearing a mask will still be a personal choice in Congress, and Biden’s speech will be subject to special precautions, which, unlike last year’s joint speech, will be open to all members of Congress. All participants will be required to take a COVID-19 test before entering the hall in front of Biden’s address.

Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the initial recommendations of the Weapons Sergeant’s Office, which included the threat that violating the rules of social distancing and wearing a mask during the event “would lead to the removal of the participant.” The new policy alleviates the fears of some of Biden’s allies, who were preparing for potentially devastating Republican protests against the policy. Some Republican lawmakers have fined thousands of dollars for violating mandates to wear masks on the floor of the House of Representatives.

Weak instructions come as Biden seeks to use his remarks to highlight progress in the fight against COVID-19 over the past year, including vaccination and therapies, and to steer the country into a “new phase” of response to the virus that is not caused by an emergency. measures and more like life before a pandemic.

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The number of seats for Biden’s first speech at a joint session of Congress last April was limited to about 200 – about 20% of the usual capacity for the presidential presentation – and White House aides worried the replay would be a dissonant image of the president’s message. aimed at delivering to the American people.

“I think you’ll see that it’s more like a normal state of the union than a joint appeal by the president,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klein said Saturday. “It will look like the most normal thing people in Washington have seen in a long time.”

The move to the Capitol comes just a day before Washington’s masked mandate expires on Monday, and as many states and local governments begin implementing new CDC recommendations and repealing the masked mandate indoors and in schools.

The burden of cases across the country has fallen sharply since their peak in early January, with the Omicron variant being less likely than previous strains to cause death or serious illness, especially in vaccinated and reinforced individuals.

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