On Monday, President Joe Biden urged states and local governments to keep mask mandates, or even to reinstate them if they have been lifted.
Several states have recently lifted mask mandates and other restrictions on businesses, like Texas, Arizona, Mississippi, Iowa, Wyoming, and Montana.
Biden made his remarks at the White House during an event promoting his vaccine efforts.
“I’m reiterating my call for every governor, mayor, and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate,” Biden said.
“Please, this is not politics,” he added. “Reinstate the mandate if you let it down.”
Biden had previously accused states that lifted mask mandates of “Neanderthal thinking.”
To date, around seventeen states, mostly led by Republican governors have either ended their mask mandates or never had them to begin with.
Biden made hopeful comments given how many Americans have already been vaccinated but also talked about the rise in cases.
“Mask up. Mask up. It’s a patriotic duty,” Biden said. “It’s the only way we get back to normal.”
President Biden even asked businesses to still require masks for customers. He also noted that Centers for Disease Control Director Rochelle Walensky was now warning of “impending doom.”
“This is deadly serious,” Biden said. “The failure to take this virus seriously is what precisely got us into this mess in the first place.”
The president also had words for those who partook in spring break, or will in the near future.
“New variants are spreading, and sadly, some of the reckless behavior we’ve seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead,” Biden said.
He added, “Now is not the time to let down. Now is not the time to celebrate.”
One reporter asked again at the end of the press event if President Biden was saying that states that are relaxing COVID-19 restrictions should stop doing so for the moment.
The president replied with just one word: “Yes.”
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