President Joe Biden is expected to sign as many as 17 executive orders on his first day in the White House.
First up: a mandate to wear masks and socially distance on federal property, inter-state travel routes and other areas under federal jurisdiction.
This order marks a stark contrast to the approach by outgoing president Donald Trump, who publicly questioned the efficacy of masks and refused to make them mandatory, even as an overwhelming majority of scientists said face coverings could significantly mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which has killed more than 400,000 Americans.
Biden signed two other executive orders in front of press on Wednesday.
The first was a commitment to advance equity in “underserved communities,” with a specific focus on healthcare.
The second rejoined the Paris Climate Accords, an international agreement originally signed by former President Barack Obama that commits a coalition of countries to combating global warming. Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement in 2017.
According to a memo authored by Biden’s Chief of Staff Ronald Klain, other executive actions to be signed on Wednesday will reverse “the gravest damages of the Trump administration” and “start moving our country forward.”
That list includes the extension of nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures, the reversal of the current Muslim Ban, a continued pause on student loan payments and additional actions that put climate change at the top of the administration’s agenda.
Biden has indicated he plans a flurry of orders and legislation in his first 10 days in office, including a push to get Congress to approve a new economic stimulus package.
“There’s no time to start like today,” Biden said as he signed his first order as president.