President Biden will encourage Americans to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his administration and is set to require the practice on federal property as part of his first executive order, the “100 Days Masking Challenge.”
The newly-minted president cannot lawfully dictate to states and cities what to do, but he does have control over what takes place on federal property, CNN reported.
“This executive action will direct the agencies to take action to require compliance with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance on mask-wearing and physical distancing in federal building, on federal lands and by federal employees and contractors,” said Biden counselor Jeff Zients, who will lead the new administration’s coronavirus effort, CNN reported. “And the president will call on governors, public health officials, mayors, business leaders and others to implement masking, physical distancing and other public measures to control COVID-19.”
Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, refused to wear face mask and publicly questioned the value of the practice, even as he himself was hospitalized in October with the virus.
Zients said Biden’s actions on face masks “is not a political statement.”
“This is about the health of our families, and economic recovery of our country,” he said.
As of Wednesday, the U.S. has approximately 24.3 million coronavirus cases and 403,000 virus-related deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker.