House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) has vowed to unleash a crackdown on US lawmakers removing masks after taking the floor, saying they will have their recognition withdrawn if they do so.

“Masks will now be required at all times in the hall of the House without exception, including while members are under recognition,” she said on Tuesday, calling the new rule a matter of order and decorum. “To be clear, members will not be recognized unless they are wearing a mask and recognition will be withdrawn if they remove the mask while speaking.”

The California Democrat had already mandated that all lawmakers wear face coverings when they appear on the House floor, after a Republican representative who was among a group of lawmakers opposing a sweeping mask rule, tested positive for Covid-19. 

Since then anyone who dared to disobey the mask order has risked being thrown out of the chamber by a sergeant-at-arms. 

However, lawmakers were still allowed to remove their masks when speaking – until now.

While Pelosi has been pushing for the ever-stricter version of the mask rule, she has faced accusations of hypocrisy after getting caught flouting Covid-19 regulations herself. In September, she was recorded having her hair done – without a mask – in a salon that was not supposed to be open to the public, pursuant to the San Francisco health guidelines.

Pelosi brushed off the criticism, accusing the owners of the indoor establishment of “setting her up” and insisting that she has done nothing wrong, while refusing to apologize.

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