Congressman introduces bill that would provide free cloth masks to any American who requests one

LOS ANGELES — Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, Wednesday introduced legislation to provide free cloth face coverings via United States mail to any American who requests one, as well as authorize a public service announcement campaign and further research into mask efficacy to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“As many states, including California, experience a worrying climb in COVID-19 infection rates, it’s time to take seriously one of the most effective interventions we have — masks and face coverings. Simply put, masks work,” Schiff said.

“Study after study has found that high rates of mask adoption impede the spread of the virus, and that countries where mask-wearing is universal have been far more successful than the United States in preventing infection,” he said. “It’s time for the federal government and our leaders to make crystal clear to the American people that wearing masks when you’re out in public and around others saves lives.”

The Masks Work Act would direct the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to establish a program to mail a cloth face covering to any American who requests one, free of charge, Schiff said.

The legislation would also direct the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to create a PSA campaign to emphasize why face coverings are recommended by scientific and medical experts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and authorize funds for the National Institutes of Health to conduct further studies on the subject of mask efficacy.

“Finally, the bill expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that masks and face coverings are an effective and cost-efficient step to control the spread of COVID-19, and that all leaders should encourage Americans to adopt them and model that behavior by wearing masks themselves,” according to a statement released by Schiff’s office.

Reps. Tony Cardenas, D-Panorama City, and Lucille Roybal Allard, D-Los Angeles, are among the 29 co-sponsors of the legislation.

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