President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Wednesday to mandate that all individuals in the United States wear masks on federal property.
“It’s requiring as I’ve said all along, wherever I have authority, mandating that masks be worn and social distancing be kept on federal property, on interstate commerce, et cetera,” he said, speaking to reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after he was inaugurated.
The executive order on masks was the first of his presidency, as he has championed them as a critical way to save lives during the coronavirus pandemic.
The president wore a mask as he sat at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and signed several executive orders to roll back some of former President Donald Trump’s executive actions.
The order directs all federal agencies to comply with the Centers for Disease Control on guidance for mask-wearing and social distancing on federal lands. It also directs all federal employees and contractors to wear masks.
Biden does not have the authority to sign a federal mask mandate but has urged all states to follow his lead.
“These are all starting points,” Biden said.