Washington, D.C., will be reinstating its mask mandate in response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases.
Mayor Muriel Bowser stated in a COVID-19 situational update on Monday that the city will reinstate its mask mandate beginning at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. The mandate is intended to last until Jan. 31 next year.
2) Reinstate the indoor mask mandate.— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) December 20, 2021
Beginning Tuesday, December 21st at 6 AM, the indoor mask mandate will be reinstated until 6 AM on January 31, 2022. pic.twitter.com/iCEvNeih9c
The city will also institute a vaccine mandate for D.C. government employees, with no test-out option available. All employees, interns, contractors, and grantees must get fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and also receive a booster shot.
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"It is critical that all eligible people are getting vaccinated and boosted," Bowser wrote on social media.
Additionally, Bowser announced that D.C. would expand testing availability for COVID-19 by adding nine new Test Yourself DC pickup and drop-off sites in the city, bringing the total available sites to 36. Additionally, the city has ordered over 1 million rapid antigen tests, which can be picked up at eight locations across the city.
Bowser also announced that D.C. Public Schools will be closed for instruction on Jan. 3-4 next year. The closure will allow staff and families to use those days to pick up rapid antigen tests.
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The omicron variant of COVID-19 has made some political leaders reinstate the mask mandates previously removed.
On Dec. 13, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California reinstated a statewide indoor mask mandate for everyone through Jan. 15, regardless of their vaccination status.