Joe Biden Says He Would Use Federal Power to Require Americans to Wear Masks in Public

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden has said that, if elected, he would use federal power to require Americans to wear face masks in public, to help fight the spread of coronavirus. Biden made the comments in an interview with CBS affiliate KDKA, following a campaign event wherein everyone wore masks and maintained safe social distancing rules.

"I would go back to making sure that everybody had masks, that you had PPE lined up, making sure we stockpile all the things that we need and we don’t have now," Biden told journalist Ken Rice afterward. "The one thing we do know, these masks make a gigantic difference." He then stated that he "would insist that everybody in public be wearing that mask." He added, "Anyone to reopen, it would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks." When asked if he would use "federal leverage to mandate" mask-wearing in public, Biden replied, " Yes, I would from an executive standpoint, yes I would," later adding, "I would do everything possible to make it required the people had to wear masks in public."

Biden also addressed the notion that the Democratic convention, wherein he would formally accept the nomination for president, could be virtual this year. " I can’t say for sure, but it’s probable that will be the case," he stated. Biden was then asked about wearing a mask while taking the oath of office, presuming he wins in November, to which he explained that he "could take the mask off at" a safe distance. He also said that, while the steps of the Capitol can get "crowded," they don't necessarily "have to have a crowd."

Finally, Biden commented on the indoor campaign rallies that President Donald Trump has become known for having, and stated that he does not foresee himself hosting rallies such as those. "Number one, can I imagine being in a situation where we’re able to do that? If the virus were under control and moved on and we had talked about a vaccine and we had ways in which to make sure that this was not being transmitted, then yes," he replied, "But I don’t see that happening."