Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is sounding the alarm after a small number of offices, hospitals, and schools reinstated mask mandates in recent days.
Describing the mandates as “alarming,” Mr. Johnson told the Moms for Liberty group on Aug. 23 that they are ineffective and said he would keep fighting them.
“It’s alarming that the mandates are kicking in again,” he told the group. “It’s like, OK, we noticed masks didn’t work, particularly for children. We always knew they didn’t work for kids.”
The Wisconsin Republican said, “N-95 masks can have some marginal benefits—but not to deny people freedom.”
Mr. Johnson has said he was always skeptical of federal vaccine mandates and has been an advocate for people who claimed to have been injured by COVID-19 vaccines. He also called on the Biden administration to admit that its COVID-19 policies didn’t work.
“They’ll never admit they were wrong in how they handled COVID. I don’t see how anybody can take a look at how the federal government—really, over the course of two administrations—how they handled COVID, and say it was anything but a complete and miserable failure,” he told the Washington Examiner in May.
The White House, the senator added, won’t acknowledge what he described as the “the incalculable human toll” and the “economic devastation caused by the shutdowns.”
Mr. Johnson’s recent remarks come after Hollywood studio Lionsgate said in a memo earlier this week that it would reimpose a mask mandate for several floors of its office in Santa Monica, California.
“Employees must wear a medical grade face covering (surgical mask, KN95 or N95) when indoors except when alone in an office with the door closed, actively eating, actively drinking at their desk or workstation, or if they are the only individual present in a large open workspace,” a Lionsgate manager said in a memo, reported by Deadline.
This week, Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Santa Rosa, California, and the Upstate Community Hospital in Syracuse, New York, brought back the masking rule for visitors, patients, nurses, and doctors.
“To ensure that we are helping protect the health and safety of our patients, our workforce, and our community, we have reintroduced a mask mandate for physicians, staff, patients, members, and visitors in the hospital and medical offices in the Santa Rosa Service Area,” Kaiser Permanente said.
Morris Brown College in Atlanta also said that masks will again be required on campus because of a rise in cases on a larger campus in Atlanta.
“There will be no parties or large student events on campus for the next two weeks,” the school said.
At the same time, there has been an increase in media coverage of several COVID-19 variants, including one that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated could potentially evade vaccines. No federal agencies have announced any new mask mandates or recommendations.