D.C. Mayor Reinstates Indoor Mask Mandate, Even for Fully Vaccinated
Following the latest CDC mask-wearing guidance, discussed and published in the following AF alert "The CDC and the Biden Administration Issue New Mask and Vaccine Guidance and Mandates, and Employers May Soon Follow Suit", D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued an executive order that requires everyone, even the fully vaccinated, to wear masks in indoor public settings, that includes, according to D.C. Health Department guidance:
- Any business or establishment open to members of the public (such as grocery stores, restaurants and bars (when not eating or drinking);
- Places of worship;
- Office buildings;
- Indoor entertainment venues;
- Common areas of apartment or condominium complexes;
- Special settings, such as schools, childcare, healthcare, correctional, and homeless shelter settings; and
- Public transportation, taxis, and ride-share vehicles.
Individuals also must wear a mask when in a workplace or establishment that requires them.
According to the Health Department, the mandate does not apply to individuals:
- Attending an indoor gathering at a private residence;
- Actively eating or drinking;
- Actively playing or training for indoor sports in a collegiate or professional sports setting;
- In the water at a swimming pool or aquatic facility;
- Alone in an enclosed office that no one else is permitted to enter;
- Giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, if no one is within six feet of the speaker;
- Speaking to or translating for a hearing impaired person;
- Required to use equipment for a job that precludes mask wearing and the person is wearing or using that equipment or wearing a mask would endanger public safety; or
- When the individual is lawfully asked to remove their mask for facial recognition.
Likewise, the mandate doesn’t apply to children younger than two and anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove a mask without assistance. Nor does it apply when wearing a mask is not possible, such as when a small child has difficulty wearing a mask for an extended period or the individual has a medical condition, including a mental health condition, that makes mask wearing problematic.
The order authorizes businesses and other organizations to exclude or refuse service to individuals who aren’t wearing a mask and to ask them to leave the premises. Also, under the order, employers may “take appropriate actions against their employees who endanger themselves or others” by violating the order.
Individuals and businesses that knowingly violate the order, or its implementing regulations, are subject to civil and administrative penalties, including a fine of up to $1,000 or license suspension or revocation.
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