BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey hopes a new bill will lead to mandatory mask usage across the country.
On Wednesday, Markey and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced the Encouraging Masks for All Act, which would give states an extra $5 billion in the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund if they implement mask requirements.
The bill would also give states $75 million in grants to promote universal mask wearing.
Currently, 15 states – Arizona, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wyoming and Utah – do not have mask mandates.
“Masks and face coverings are the essential public health tool to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Markey said in a statement.
“As President-elect Biden recognizes, we need to use every technique available to us to encourage mask use, from clear communication of the need for masks, to providing masks to those who need them, to leading by example, and even to mandating mask use nationwide. Our legislation would move us closer to goal of ensuring universal mask adoption during these dangerous winter months. It would also ensure that essential workers in transit, health care, and retail settings all over the country are protected with face masks. Mask up!”
The bill also mandates masks on federal property.