DC drops most mask restrictions for vaccinated adults
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Friday officially loosened most mask requirements for fully-vaccinated adults in the nation’s capital, including mask restrictions at businesses, as well as while participating in certain indoor and outdoor activities.
Under a newly signed executive order, those who have gone two weeks since receiving the Johnson & Johnson single shot or the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine may now follow the interim guidance for fully vaccinated individuals as updated this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Under the District’s “special rules for persons who are fully vaccinated,” adults may gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask and in small groups outside without wearing a mask.
Additionally, “businesses, office buildings, and other establishments open to members of the public shall post signage on their exterior doors stating that a person may not enter unless the person is wearing a mask or is fully vaccinated,” according to the executive order.
Fully vaccinated individuals may also pass through the common areas of apartments or condo buildings without a mask, though those who remain there for extended periods of time must continue to wear a mask.
Under the new rules, businesses may ask for a person’s vaccine card or other proof of vaccination if they are not wearing a mask.
However, the order states that for businesses or institutions that require vaccination for admittance, exceptions must be made “for those who are medically unable to be vaccinated [and] for those whose sincerely held religious beliefs forbid them from being vaccinated” so long as these individuals are wearing a mask.
Friday’s executive order also loosens rules on traveling and self-quarantining for vaccinated individuals, with those who are fully inoculated no longer being required to self-quarantine after they return from domestic travel.
The order states that vaccinated people who travel internationally should take a COVID-19 test before boarding a flight to the U.S. as well as three to five days after returning to D.C.
Vaccinated individuals who have been exposed to COVID-19 no longer have to quarantine, unless they begin to display symptoms.
The changes come days after the CDC in its updated guidance said that it is safe for fully vaccinated people to be outside without a mask, which CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday is “a step back to the normalcy of before.”
According to data from the D.C. mayor’s office, more than 237,000 residents have received at least one shot, with more than 142,000 fully vaccinated.