Two Senate Democrats have authored legislation that would force every American to wear a mask or other face covering amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Newsweek reported Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are pushing a bill calling for a nationwide mask mandate.
The Democratic lawmakers join presumptive president-elect Joe Biden in calling for such a mandate.
On Wednesday, the two Democrats took the first step enacting a bill toward forcing Americans to comply with wearing masks.
In the “Encouraging Masks for All Act,” Markey and Blumenthal argue that all Americans must wear masks in order to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
A media release posted on Markey’s Senate website argues the legislation “would encourage states to require the use of face masks in all public spaces and outside when one cannot maintain social distance.”
“Wearing a mask should be considered a moral and health mandate — our primary defense against the coronavirus,” Blumenthal said in the statement.
Markey also touted the mask legislation in the statement.
“As President-elect Biden recognizes, we need to use every technique available to us to encourage mask use, from clear communication of the need for masks, to providing masks to those who need them, to leading by example, and even to mandating mask use nationwide,” Markey said.
“Our legislation would move us closer to goal of ensuring universal mask adoption during these dangerous winter months. It would also ensure that essential workers in transit, health care, and retail settings all over the country are protected with face masks,” the Democrat added.
The legislation, if passed, would offer the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund $5 billion.
Those funds would be made available to states that agreed to implement mandates requiring citizens to wear masks.
Newsweek reported that states that adopt guidelines from the “Encouraging Masks for All Act” would also each receive $75 million in grants.
Markey and Blumenthal argued in the media release, citing information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that science has proven wearing masks can effectively slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“Recent research suggests universal masking could prevent 130,000 deaths from COVID-19,” the release read.
Newsweek reported the senators complained that nearly one-third of states do not have mandates requiring the wearing of masks.
“As of November 25, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming do not have statewide mask orders,” the outlet reported.
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