US Capitol Police officers will arrest visitors and staff members who refuse to comply with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s renewed COVID-19 mask mandate — heightening tensions with Republicans who call the mandate an unscientific power trip.
In a policy that further enraged critics, cops won’t arrest people on the Senate side of the Capitol, where masks remain voluntary. Local DC officials also have not reimposed a citywide mask mandate.
A bulletin for police says, “If a visitor or staff member fails to wear a mask after a request is made to do so, the visitor or staff shall be denied entry to the House Office Buildings or House-side of the U.S. Capitol. Any person who fails to either comply or leave the premises after being asked to do so would be subject to an arrest for Unlawful Entry.”
Members of Congress and aides accompanying them who break the new rule won’t be arrested, but will be reported to House leaders, who will dock their pay with $500 fines. The Constitution says members of Congress are “privileged from Arrest” in most cases at the Capitol.