Muriel Bowser, D.C. mayor must have had her holidays out in advance. At a press conference, today’s mayor stated that District officials would reimpose the mask requirement for indoor public areas Tuesday morning at 6:15 a.m.
Bowser’s third attempt to require masks in public places is this. The mayor has just rescinded the previous mandate to mask public spaces, which was imposed late in the summer in response to a spike in COVID-19-related cases.
“This does not mean that everyone needs to stop wearing their mask,” Bowser said at the November press conference announcing that mandate’s repeal. This does not mean the government is changing its response to provide you with this risk-based info.
Given the increase in cases and spread of the omicron variant, it seems that providing information to people and allowing them make their own decisions is no longer an option.
It’s all too much. Bowser said that she was tired of the same thing at today’s press conference. However, Bowser stated that “we must respond to what is happening in our community and in our country.”
Bowser replied no to questions about whether D.C. might consider granting an exemption for gyms like neighboring Virginia when its mask mandate was in force.
D.C., prior to today’s announcement was among the liberal, large cities without an indoor mandate for masks or vaccination requirements.
Instead, the District government required that masks be worn at schools, in some government buildings, on public transit and on rideshare vehicles. All city workers, students, staff, and regular visitors to schools had to be vaccinated.
The city was praised as an island in relative panic sanity, and this earned them some highly qualified (now clearly unearned). I’m sorry.
The new mask requirement means District drinkers and diners will be able to look forward to their familiar routine of wearing a mask from the moment they enter a restaurant or bar to when they arrive at their table. This will protect us from the omicron.
D.C. was expecting a rise in COVID-19 deaths due to the Delta variant when it imposed its last mask mandate on July 20, 2021. However, the increase in COVID-19-related deaths in D.C. was not noticeable.
— Christian Britschgi (@christianbrits) December 16, 2021
WTOP has found that the current number of cases in D.C. exceeds the peak for the surge. According to WTOP data, the number of COVID-19-infected people in D.C. is approximately the same level as at the peak in September 2021. On average, there is one COVID-19-related death in the city each day.
Today’s mayor presentation includes data that shows that even though there was a surge in cases of delta, even COVID-19 rates remained low among fully-vaccinated people.
This is more proof that vaccinations can be a great way to protect yourself from COVID-19 infections. In D.C., vaccines and booster shots can be obtained for free. Approximately 65 percent of the residents are fully vaccinated.
D.C. companies were free to use masks as long as they wanted, and employees could wear them in the workplace if necessary.
Bowser, however, is mandating a less efficient public health intervention to help people who have already protected themselves against COVID-19, or chose not to.
Mayor also stated that free quick tests would be offered at selected locations in the city. City employees, grantees and interns must be fully vaccinated.
The new mandate for masks will expire January 31. It will be interesting to see what happens.