DC Will Require Proof of Vaccine at Many Businesses by Mid-January

DC Will Require Proof of Vaccine at Many Businesses by Mid-January woman wears masking while reading book in coffee shop (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Wednesday, 22 December 2021 02:22 PM

Everyone from 12 years old on up will have to show proof of vaccination at restaurants and many other District of Columbia businesses by mid-January, Democrat Mayor Muriel Bowser announced.

The requirement comes two days after Bowser revealed new restrictions to stop a record-setting number of COVID-19 cases, The Washington Post reported — noting D.C.’s new daily case rate is higher than that of any state in the nation.

According to the Post, Bowser has already reinstated an indoor mask mandate, unveiled a vaccine requirement for government workers without a test-out option, and introduced at-home rapid antigen tests for residents.

Similar requirements are in place in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, and Philadelphia, the Post noted.

Deputy Mayor John Falcicchio said the rule will not apply to establishments where patrons normally move through more quickly and keep their masks on, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, retail shops, and museums, the Post reported.

Religious congregations will also be exempt.

"I don’t make any of these types of decisions lightly, because I don’t like Big Brother intruding on my life," Bowser said, the Post reported.

"[There are] times when the government needs to make decisions for the whole society. Mandates have the ability to help people who are not vaccinated to become vaccinated, and that is a huge public health benefit."

According to the Post, businesses will have to see proof of at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine for any patron age 12 and older starting Jan. 15. Starting Feb. 15, the requirement will be at least two doses of an mRNA vaccine or one dose of Johnson & Johnson for those 12 and older.

"We all have to respond to this virus as it presents. It is true that we’re asking businesses to do more, but we also think [the vaccine mandate] is a benefit to their business" since it will make some people more comfortable patronizing the businesses, Bowser said.

The mandate won't apply to employees at those businesses.