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Biden's plans for mask mandates nationwide will be an early test of his power of persuasion

November 19, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

President-elect Joe Biden's team is discussing ways to persuade resistant Republican governors to get on board with mandating masks to stop the spread of Covid-19, according to sources familiar with those conversations.

Washington (CNN)President-elect Joe Biden's team is discussing ways to persuade resistant Republican governors to get on board with mandating masks to stop the spread of Covid-19, according to sources familiar with those conversations.

Before engaging with any of the 13 Republican governors who have yet to pass statewide mask mandates, sources say the Biden team is reaching out to more amenable governors -- including holding staff level meetings with Republican Larry Hogan of Maryland, who was an early adopter of mask mandates and other preventive measures.

Biden has acknowledged that his authority to actually enforce a mask mandate is limited and that he will rely heavily on the cooperation of state and local leaders.

"What I failed to mention earlier is the enormous respect I have for Republican, conservative Republican governors who have stepped up and issued mandates for wearing a mask," Biden said.

"Joe Biden realizes that the president doesn't have the authority to institute a mask mandate," said Noem's spokesman Ian Fury.

"A federal mask mandate, whatever that would look like, would really give no authority to local law enforcement to go out and do any enforcement action," Reams said.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt, who has not issued a statewide mask mandate, has said he remains open to working with Biden on Covid-19 response -- in the broadest, vaguest terms possible.

Federal health officials have long been frustrated by the lack of mandatory mask mandates in states and local jurisdictions -- and sources in agencies like the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say Biden will have his work cut out for him.

Biden on several occasions said he would mandate mask wearing "from an executive standpoint. " While that could be interpreted as calling for a national mandate, his campaign clarified when asked about Biden's comments that he was referring to his executive authority to mandate masks on federal property.

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