Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) faced backlash on Thursday after declaring he’d no longer wear a face mask in the U.S. Capitol or on the Senate floor.
Cruz told CNN he was ditching the mask because he and “everybody working in the Senate” have received COVID-19 vaccinations.
Cruz also referred to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance, which he claimed says “small groups, particularly with people who were vaccinated, don’t need to wear masks,” per CNN.
It does say people who have been fully vaccinated can “visit inside a home or private setting without a mask with other fully vaccinated people of any age” and “visit inside a home or private setting without a mask with one household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk for severe illness.”
But it recommends avoiding medium or large-sized gatherings, adhering to workplace guidance and against visiting indoors “without a mask, with people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”
“We’re still learning how vaccines will affect the spread of COVID-19,” the CDC guidance states, encouraging people to “keep taking precautions” after being vaccinated, “like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces ― in public places until we know more.”
Lawmakers in the Senate, unlike the House, are not mandated to wear masks.
Critics on Twitter slammed Cruz, who in February jetted off to Cancun for a family vacation while his home state of Texas suffered widespread power outages and water shortages caused by winter storms:
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.