D.C. will drop mask mandate, proof of vaccination requirements

Media Credit: Photo Illustration by Grace Hromin | Senior Photo Editor

Bowser said masking will still be enforced in health care facilities, libraries and schools and on public transportation.

D.C. officials will drop the city’s vaccine and mask mandates in the comings weeks as COVID-19 cases drop.

Mayor Muriel Bowser said at a press conference Monday that the city’s mask mandate will end starting March 1, and patrons will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination at indoor venues starting Tuesday. Officials said the 90 percent decline in COVID-19 cases and 95 percent drop in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the peak of the Omicron variant allowed officials to feel safe dropping the mandates.

“We’re in a much better place now to announce adjustments to that winter plan,” Bowser said.

Bowser said starting next month, patrons will not be required to wear masks in restaurants, gyms, places of worship and grocery stores. She said masking will still be enforced in health care facilities, libraries and schools and on public transportation.

Businesses may choose to continue to keep proof of vaccination and mask requirements in place at their discretion after the requirements expire, she said.

“Masks will still be required at any private business that requires the use of masks and puts up signage to that effect,” she said.

District officials reinstated D.C.’s mask mandate after a spike in cases due to the highly contagious Omicron variant led to the District totaling the highest positive case rate in the United States in December. Bowser had previously dropped the mask mandate in the fall after about 89 percent the District’s population received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and Bowser said it was safe enough to drop.

GW officials have kept the indoor mask mandate in place since the beginning of the academic year. GW has also required all members of the community  to receive the COVID-19 booster shot, distributed N95 masks and rented hotel rooms to isolate students who test positive for COVID-19 to curb the spread of the Omicron variant.

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