Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser on Wednesday extended the city’s COVID-19 indoor mask requirement through the end of February.
According to the mayor’s office, the the mask mandate will now remain in place until at least 11:59 p.m. on Feb. 28 “unless extended or repealed.” It had been set to expire at the end of this month.
The indoor mask requirement was reinstated on Dec. 20, 2021, amid increasing cases due to the omicron variant after a previous mask mandate was lifted in November of 2021.
Bowser’s noted that while COVID-19 infection rates are falling in the District, they remain high, with a daily case rate of 51.3 cases per 100,000 people.
The mayor’s order notes that confirmed COVID-19 infections in the District since the start of the pandemic now stand at 128,739 cases, along with 1,278 deaths that can be attributed to the virus.
In addition to extended masking rules, Bowser also announced the extension of the city’s limited COVID-19 public health emergency, designed to help aide hospitals amid staffing shortages, until Feb. 15, noted The Washington Post.
“Although the surge of infections relating to the omicron variant appears to be abating, the stress on hospitals and medical providers and facilities continues,” Bowser’s previous order read.
The extended mandates come on the heels of a vaccine requirement for patrons of certain venues, including restaurants and gyms, which took effect Jan. 15.