Feinstein says no coronavirus stimulus money for states that don’t mandate masks

Georgia Gov. Kemp suing to stop mask mandate in Atlanta

Gov. Brian Kemp says that while he supports and encourages wearing masks, it should not be mandatory; Steve Harrigan reports.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said states that refuse to mandate face masks should be cut off from federal funds because they are putting the public health of Americans at risk.

Feinstein said she'll offer an amendment to upcoming Senate coronavirus relief legislation to block money to states that have resisted a mask mandate.

"Wearing masks in public should be mandatory. Period," Feinstein said in a statement Thursday.

"…The situation is getting worse daily. Several states including California, Alabama and Montana already require masks in public," Feinstein continued. "This should be universal. My hope has been that other governors would show the leadership to institute their own mask mandates, but so far that hasn’t happened. It’s time for Congress to step in. This is a matter of life or death, and partisan politics shouldn’t play a role.”

Mask mandates are catching on among some states, cities and major retailers as coronavirus cases continue to spike and masks have been deemed by health experts to be an effective way to cut down on transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone wear a face covering in public settings because COVID-19 spreads mainly from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.

But still, some politicians have resisted a mandate, citing the need for personal freedoms. The wildly different approaches to mask-wearing has been on display in Georiga with Gov. Brian Kemp now suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to block her from requiring masks in her city.

So far, 28 states and Washington D.C. have statewide mask requirements in place for indoor and public spaces.


Dr. Anthony Fauci said Friday that state and local government leaders should be "as forceful as possible" in urging the wearing of face masks to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which the top infectious disease expert says is still in the first wave in the United States and has hit Americans "very severely."


Feinstein said masks are essential to getting the virus under control.

“In the last two weeks, 41 states saw an increase in coronavirus cases, with a total of 3.5 million infected nationwide," Feinstein said. "California, Florida and New York each topped 300,000 cases, and Texas will soon follow. We’ve seen 60,000 new cases in five of the last six days. We’re failing to control this virus and it’s time for serious action."

She continued: "Research shows that masks reduce transmission of the coronavirus. CDC Director Redfield said this surge in COVID-19 cases could end within two months if we adopt ‘universal masking.’ Businesses like Walmart, Kohl’s and Kroger now require masks. And countries that are successfully controlling this virus require masks. So why doesn’t the United States have a national mask mandate?"

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