A hotel employee wears a mask in the lobby on July 30, 2021, in Washington, DC. Mayor Muriel Bowser restored a COVID-19 indoor mask mandate, regardless of vaccination status, starting Saturday.
Washington, DC, health officials say the indoor mask mandate, now in its second week, may be in place until Thanksgiving given the rising number of cases and stagnated vaccination rates.
Patrick Ashley, a senior deputy director of the DC health department, told WRC-TV that the mask mandate will likely be in effect for the weeks to come.
“We’re very hopeful that we’ll get back to normal around the holidays,” Ashley said, adding: “We’re hopeful that by Thanksgiving we’ll be in a different spot, but that relies on people getting vaccinated.”
DC has been experiencing a steady climb in COVID cases, and on Monday reported a seven-day average of 125 new COVID cases per day. Meanwhile, vaccination rates have leveled off.
DC’s mask mandate, which went into effect on July 31, requires residents over the age of 2 to wear face masks indoors, regardless of vaccination.
The order followed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines issued the week prior that recommended those in areas of the country with “high” or “substantial” COVID-19 transmission wear masks indoors.
On Tuesday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that all city employees and contractors — including teachers, police officers and sanitation workers — must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 19 or take a weekly COVID test, FOX 5 reported.