Mayor Muriel Bowser ended the District’s public health emergency but extended the city’s public emergency order Saturday, allowing her to retain temporary powers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the ability to implement a mask mandate.
Bowser declared both emergencies last March at the onset of the pandemic and credited the public health emergency’s termination to increased vaccination rates and lowered infection rates, according to the mayor’s order. The order extended the public emergency until October 8 and allows Bowser to establish vaccination requirements, receive additional emergency federal funding and make city personnel changes.
“Moving forward, while we will no longer operate under a Public Health Emergency, we will continue to keep in place a Public Emergency,” Bowser said in a release. “In doing so, the District can stay nimble in our response to the virus and we retain the ability to implement or dial up and down critical measures to protect the health of our community.”
The release states Bowser will also continue to hold the power to change public services, strengthen protections for medically vulnerable individuals and members of the homeless community and expand the authority of the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development.
Bowser’s order comes as D.C. and the country at large have experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases caused by the spread of the Delta variant.
Approximately 53.8 percent of D.C. residents are fully vaccinated, according to the District’s vaccination portal. The average daily case rate in D.C. is 6.7 cases per day, according to the District’s website.