Masks on, or leave the debate hall

Everyone in Thursday's debate audience will be required to wear masks and will be asked to leave if they refuse to comply, said Frank Fahrenkopf, co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates.

That’s a departure from the first presidential debate, when several members of Trump’s family removed their masks after taking their seats, even though debate organizers had nominally required them. Organizers and the Trump family alike were criticized for seemingly lax mask enforcement.

Stricter mask enforcement was a feature of the vice presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris two weeks ago. Members of that audience could be seen with their masks on throughout the debate.

Trump, Biden and moderator Kristen Welker did not wear masks and were set up to be more than 12 feet apart from each other. The audience also had to follow social distancing requirements, with several seats intentionally left empty.

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