Fully vaccinated lawmakers and staff in the House of Representatives will no longer be required to wear a mask or maintain six feet of social distance, following updated guidance issued on Friday by Dr. Brian P. Monahan, the attending physician of Congress.
Those who are not fully vaccinated remain required to mask and take other precautions or be subject to fines, according to the guidance, which Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, forwarded to the House membership.
The change comes thanks to a “considerable rate of vaccination participation” and “diminishing daily evidence of disease transmission” in the Washington area, according to the updated guidelines for congressional offices and work centers.
The document noted that “congressional community vaccination rates are generally much higher” than in the country as a whole. But CNN reported in May that, while all Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of Congress had been vaccinated, the rate was lower among Republicans: 92 percent among senators and “at least 44.8 percent” among representatives.
The issue of House coronavirus measures has been contentious.
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that fully vaccinated people — those who are two weeks past their final dose — could remove their masks indoors, Speaker Nancy Pelosi refused to lift mask mandate, noting that some conservative Republican lawmakers had refused to get vaccinated.
“No,” Ms. Pelosi told CNN in May when asked if she planned to change the rule. “Are they vaccinated?”
The House guidelines recommend the use of masks around others whose vaccination status is indeterminate. And al lawmakers and staff, regardless of their vaccination status, will still be required to report a daily self-monitoring of health symptoms, the guidelines say.
As facilities in the House return to “pre-pandemic operational postures,” the updated guidelines also suggest maintaining six feet of distance at workstations around unvaccinated individuals, and that dining facilities allow for “a separate seating area” for those who are not fully vaccinated, where they can maintain social distance.