Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden would use his federal powers to force Americans to wear masks if elected, he said on Thursday.
In an interview with CBS Pittsburgh affiliate KDKA, the former veep said he would sign an executive order and use all the tools in his arsenal to force people to wear face coverings in public amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“The one thing we do know, these masks make a gigantic difference. I would insist that everybody in public be wearing that mask,” he said.
“Anyone to reopen, it would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks,” he continued.
When asked if he would use his federal powers to force nationwide mask-wearing, the 77-year-old responded: “Yes, I would from an executive standpoint, yes I would.”
“I would do everything possible to make it required the people had to wear masks in public,” he continued.
Biden’s stance is the polar opposite of President Trump, who has repeatedly told Americans it is their choice whether they wear face coverings and has himself not appeared in public in a mask.
The virus, which has killed 126,000 people in the US, shows no signs of abating, with cases now spiking in the states of Utah, Arizona and Florida.
White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that masks were effective at both limiting the spread of the virus and protecting people from contracting COVID-19, but conceded he never told the president to wear one.
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