Mayor Bowser Reimposes Indoor Mask Mandate Starting Saturday
by Larry Janezich
Posted July 29, 2021
Today, Mayor Bowser announced that starting Saturday, July 31 at 5:00am, she would order mandatory wearing of masks indoors for everyone over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status. The public emergency remains in place. As of now, only the masking requirement changes, with no change in the social distancing requirement.
Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, head of DC Health Department, said that since the beginning of July, there had been a fivefold increase in the city’s daily case rate and the increase was attributable to those in two age groups – 5 to 14 and 20 to 34. The activities linked to the increase in those groups include travel, international travel, dining out, and social activities with group size and attendance skewing toward larger groups. Only a handful of new cases came from the over-65 age group.
Asked about enforcement, Bowser said that DC residents had “been supportive throughout this and have been willing to follow DC guidance. This is not a big lift for a lot of folks”.
The first day of school will be August 30. Masks will be required for all indoors, and social distancing will be maintained to the extent possible. The city is launching a large financial incentive program to get students vaccinated, including the giveaway of $51 gift cards, air pods, iPads, and college scholarships.
Currently Covid vaccination is strongly encouraged for all students 12 and older, but is not required. Starting Monday, August 2, students and families will be able to schedule appointments for shots through https://coronavirus.dc.gov/page/get-vaccinated . Appointments will be at participating DC Public Schools and public charter schools and can be made regardless of the student’s school of enrollment.
Regarding city workers, the District has started working with labor partners to create a vaccination requirement for DC Government employees.
Asked how far back the city might go with respect to re-imposing additional restrictions, the Mayor said that the hope was that by acting now, “we can stop this before it goes too far.” Asked how long the masking requirement would last, she said, “I don’t know.”
The city still offers free Covid testing daily at select fire stations, recreation centers, and other sites. For more info, go here: https://coronavirus.dc.gov/testing
For the Power Point presentation of the Mayor’s Situational Briefing today, go here: https://bit.ly/375r89X .