Washington, DC Relaxing Strict Indoor Mask Mandate

Washington, DC Relaxing Strict Indoor Mask Mandate employee wears mask in store An employee wears a mask at a store at Union Station on July 30, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

By Fran Beyer | Tuesday, 16 November 2021 12:46 PM

A strict local mask mandate in Washington, D.C., will be relaxed Nov. 22, Mayor Muriel Bowser said Tuesday, The Washington Post reported.

The district has required residents to wear masks in most indoor settings since cases rose over the summer due to the COVID-19 delta variant.

The Democrat mayor said, however, vaccines are working and preventing those who are sick with the virus from needing hospitalization.

She said it’s time to let residents choose whether to wear masks in their office buildings, retail stores, and many other settings, the Post reported, noting local businesses can still choose to require masks but won’t be legally required.

Local regulations will still require masks in some settings, including Metro trains and buses, ride-share cars, some government buildings, and public schools.

Some residents and workers told the news outlet they’re OK with the mask regulation.

"I have no problem with it," Henry River, a janitor, told the Post about the current mask regulation. Even though he’s vaccinated, he told the news outlet he worries about people going unmasked in places he visits where he believes "there’s no air circulation."

"Some requirements help at least," he added.

But grocery store worker Katherine Scott was eager for the requirement to end.

"I feel 100% safe," she told the news outlet, noting she’s vaccinated.

"Everything I’ve read, from the CDC and any major newspaper, says the vaccine works — your risk of death goes to just about zilch," Scott said. "We’re not requiring everyone to get in a car and wear a bike helmet. That’s kind of how the mask feels. Essentially you’re telling me I need to wear it, but I’m fully vaccinated. I’m doing the extremely safe thing. It’s frustrating."