DC Mayor: Masks Required Outside Home, Order Will be Enforced

July 22, 2020 Updated: July 22, 2020

Residents and others in Washington must wear masks and will be punished if they don’t, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday.

“Basically what it says is, if you leave home, you should wear a mask,” Bowser, a Democrat, told reporters of a new order officials were issuing.

“This means, if you’re waiting for a bus, you must have on a mask. If you are ordering food at a restaurant, you must have on a mask. If you’re sitting in a cubicle in an open office, you must have on a mask,” she added later.

According to the order (pdf), any person or entity that knowingly violates the order may be subject to penalties including sanctions, civil fines, or suspension or revocation of licenses.

Four exceptions were outlined: children under the age of 2, people eating or drinking, people exercising, and people in enclosed offices.

The trendline for cases of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus in the nation’s capital has fluctuated in recent weeks but remained far lower than the peak.

Still, officials expressed concern that people under 40 are now accounting for a larger percentage of the cases than before and a larger percentage of patients hospitalized with COVID-19, the disease the virus causes.

Some 2,005 patients are currently in acute care at hospitals in the district, but only 81 of those patients have COVID-19, according to official data, and just 11 patients are on ventilators. Both are the lowest figures seen during the pandemic.

Epoch Times Photo
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette adjusts his mask before testifying at a hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy in Washington on July 14, 2020. (Michael A. McCoy/Getty Images)

Officials have so far not been able to figure out which activities are leading to spread of the virus. If they figure that out, they will restrict the activity or activities in question.

No new deaths with COVID-19 were reported Wednesday. One hundred and two new positive cases were recorded.

Bowser also extended the public emergency through Oct. 9.

Meanwhile, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, a Democrat, announced this week that all residents of the county aged two and older must wear face coverings in any indoor business, service, organization, or establishment that serves the general public.

“The advice of scientific experts is clear: face coverings work. This commonsense step will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” Olszewski said in a statement. “I want to thank our neighbors and businesses who continue to take the necessary steps to keep our loved ones safe. We must all do our part, or we risk jeopardizing the progress we’ve made together.”

And Montgomery County, Maryland, officials recently ordered people to wear masks in public when social distancing, or maintaining six feet of distance from non-household members, isn’t possible. The county is adjacent to Washington.

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