CNN | 7/14/2020 | Listen

If the Trump administration isn't requiring masks, who is?

Updated 6:32 PM ET, Mon June 29, 2020

(CNN) - President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have consistently punted authority over coronavirus management to state and local officials.

And amid the most recent spike in cases across the country, we're seeing more and more of these officials fill the gap, calling for the one specific move we haven't yet heard from Trump or Pence: Mandatory mask-wearing.

So far, 16 states plus Washington, DC have mask requirements in place for public settings, primarily in the northeast and southwest.

New to the list of locations with a mask requirement: Jacksonville, Florida. That also happens to be where President Trump plans to accept his party's presidential nomination -- instead of Charlotte, North Carolina, where state officials wouldn't bend to Trump's mask and social distancing-free convention in August.

Jacksonville rolled out a mandatory mask order "for public & indoor locations, and in other situations where individuals cannot socially distance," effective at 5 p.m. Monday. This comes after nearly every other large city in Florida announced requirements for face masks in public.

But the city of Jacksonville says they have not made any changes to the upcoming Republic National Convention in August.

While local control gives some flexibility, a piecemeal approach hardly fits the challenge of a highly contagious global pandemic. Especially when using masks and face coverings has been the most effective way to reduce person-to-person spread of coronavirus, according to a recent study.

Even on Capitol Hill, the mask mandate is causing problems, as the issue has become more and more political.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, the top Democrat on the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, recently urged Republicans to wear masks in their hearings after some did not wear them on Friday. Clyburn added that he would not recognize any member not wearing a mask, making it nearly impossible for them to participate in hearings in person.

The Point: Masks are one major and effective tool in the toolkit for managing the spread of Covid-19 -- and more local leaders are requiring them, even without a federal mandate.


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