As Other Big Cities Tighten Mask and Vaccine Mandates, D.C. Becomes a Surprising Island of Relative Sanity

America’s Democratic mayors and governors have tightened their pandemic regulations once more in response to the new Omicron variant.

New Yorkers across the state will now have to wear masks when entering any indoor public area that doesn’t require vaccination proof. These places are not only bars and restaurants but offices and houses of worship as well as common areas in residential buildings.

This mandate was announced by Democratic Governor Friday. Kathy Hochul follows New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s tightening vaccine requirements. De Blasio ordered that all employees of the private sector in New York be immunized beginning on December 27. For public events such as dining out and visiting gyms, bowling alleys, and other venues, the required vaccine dose will be at least twice. To participate in school sports and a school band, children 5 years old or older must be vaccinated.

Philadelphia today announced that everyone entering a restaurant or bar that sells food and drink must be vaccinated. These new regulations will apply only to convention centers that serve food.

This policy does not cover children younger than 5. You can also claim religious or medical exemptions. However, those who are exempted will need to pass the negative COVID testing within 24 hours of entering public venues with a capacity greater than 1000 people.

The story is similar in the bluest regions of America. Oregon has a requirement for indoor masks. Health authorities in Oregon are creating a permanent mask rule in order to replace the temporarily mandated one that expires February. Washington state likewise requires masks in most indoor settings. The exemptions include children below 5 years old, people with hearing impairments or other disabilities that make it more difficult to wear masks and individuals who are literally incoherent. Los Angeles and San Francisco both have indoor mask regulations. They require that all indoor-going persons be immunized. Charlie Baker (Republican governor of Massachusetts) ended Massachusetts’ mask mandate a few months back, but Boston has retained its requirement. Even Santa Claus can benefit from it.

Washington, D.C. is standing at the forefront of these pandemic mandates that shout “eh not right now”

It has not reimposed the mask mandate, which was repealed by the government last month in the capital of the country. It has not tried to enforce the same general vaccination requirements on public places or private sector workers as other cities.

However, officials from the city have sent an amazingly sane message: COVID-19 won’t disappear any time soon. They want residents to get on with their lives.

Muriel Bowser, D.C. mayor, said that “this does not mean everyone should stop wearing their mask” at the November press conference to announce repeal of mask mandate. But it means that the government is shifting its response to provide you with this risk-based information.

LaQuandra Nessebitt, direct of D.C. Health made a similar statement at the press conference. She stated that COVID-19 was expected to be endemic in the district, much like the flu. The government’s strategy will include fewer mandates, more data, and less information to assist people with assessing their risk of engaging in certain activities.

We want people to know about long-term monitoring strategies of infectious disease. [expect]”Will likely be an endemic disease, always present within our community in the same manner that influenza is,” Nesbitt said, according to The New York Post.

To be clear, D.C. is hardly a libertarian paradise when it comes to COVID-19 policy—or any other kind of policy. You must still wear a mask on public transport and rideshare cars. They are also required to be worn at all public buildings that have direct contact with the public such as libraries and child care facilities. City workers and health workers as well as staff who frequently visit schools, including private schools, must have vaccines. Bowser supports the Biden administration’s directive that all private sector employers employing 100 or more people must either require them to get vaccinated, or be negative for COVID-19.

These aren’t very severe. They’re still not as severe as the rest of Blue America.

Notable is the fact that this city allows businesses to adopt their voluntary vaccine masks and mandates. This is in contrast with Florida’s and Texas’s policies that ban private vaccinations.

It is not clear to me why D.C. was awarded the COVID-19 title as the best big liberal city.

The city is one of the most liberal in the country with 92% of its residents supporting Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. This is not the first time the city has been able to address such problems in the past pandemic. The government quickly reinstituted the mask mandate in July following the rise of COVID cases in delta.

Bowser’s administration was also indifferent to the pleas of businesses for flexibility during this pandemic. It refused to allow some venues to resume live performances earlier this year if it required that patrons and performers be immunized. It also refused to exempt gyms from the (now rescinded) mandate that masks be worn by entry-seeking persons.

Yet, for some reason, it seems that the city is resolutely encouraging and not mandating residents to protect their COVID status. It continues to adhere to this policy despite the fact that many other cities have expanded their vaccine mandates and passport systems. While it is not ideal, it beats living in L.A.