WASHINGTON (WDVM) — District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser is lifting the city’s indoor mask mandate on Monday, November 22.
Mayor Bowser made the announcement at a COVID-19 situational update along with D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt and City Administrator Kevin Donahue. The city points toward recent data trends as the reason behind lifting the mask mandate.
Masks will still be required in some circumstances, listed below:
- Any private business that wants a mask requirement;
- On public transport like buses and trains, inside train stations, in airports, and while in ride share vehicles;
- Inside schools, childcare facilities, and libraries;
- Congregate facilities, such as nursing homes/assisted living facilities, shelters, dorms/residences, and correctional facilities; and
- In DC Government facilities where there is direct interaction between employees and the public (e.g., DMV service center; DHS service center, etc.).
When discussing the data trends that led to this point, Dr. Nesbitt pointed out that the third wave of the virus hit the city in the summer of 2021, and has been declining since mid-September. The daily case rate, according to District data, has also plateaued.
Dr. Nesbitt also discussed the number of cases of people who are fully vaccinated who are testing positive for the virus. A month ago, that number was one in seven new cases, and now, it is one in five cases. Still, Dr. Nesbitt pointed out that the number of hospitalizations for those who are fully vaccinated has not increased, and death from the virus remains a rare event.
The Mayor and Dr. Nesbitt discussed that as the current way of life shifts for those who are vaccinated versus those who are unvaccinated, and as numbers continue to trend positively for those who are vaccinated, the guidance and mandates set forth by the city will be focused on the vaccinated population.
Officials also encouraged residents to make sure they were vaccinated. Everyone, regardless of vaccination status is also encouraged to consider their risk factors and surroundings carefully when choosing layered mitigations strategies (e.g., wearing a mask, social distancing).