Congressman Harris Asks for Clarification on Mask Mandate for Small Craft Fishing Vessels

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Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., issued a statement today in response to the Biden Administration’s Executive Order 13998, which requires the wearing of masks on all federal and federally regulated transportation vehicles and vessels to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

“While appropriate on some modes of transportation where social distancing with strangers cannot be maintained, this mandate is overly broad and leading to unforeseen frustration.  The Coast Guard has issued guidance that all commercial fishing vessel occupants will be required to wear masks, and that they will enforce this mandate.  Our watermen are completely outdoors, often numbering no more than three per vessel, and have been working together without interruption since the beginning of this pandemic – they are at extremely low-risk by the nature of their work.  I urge the CDC to come forward and clarify that this mandate, which includes while sleeping onboard, lacks legitimate scientific backing for small craft fishing vessels with minimal persons working onboard in an outdoor environment.  Rather than being the Biden mask police for a low-transmission industry, the Coast Guard should be spending their valuable time doing their core duties, especially drug enforcement.”