D.C. Drops Mask Mandate

D.C. Drops Mask Mandate

By:Rich Luna
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Indoor venues in the District of Columbia will no longer be required as of March 1 to verify if patrons are vaccinated against COVID or be required to wear a mask.

D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser announced she will not extend the indoor mask mandate, which expires Feb. 28. Instead, masks will not be required at indoor venues, including restaurants, bars, gyms, grocery stores, businesses and more effective March 1. Proof of vaccination also will not be required beginning March 1.

"We do believe that we've gotten the push out of the vaccine requirement for indoor venues that we're going to get," she said.

Masks will still be required in some buildings, including schools and health care facilities, and any private business that wishes to require masks for workers or customers, she added. 

COVID-19 cases in D.C. have dropped by more than 90% and there's been a 95% reduction in hospitalizations, she said.

Kathy E. Hollinger, president and chief executive of the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, told the Washington Post that the association was “pleased” with Bowser’s decision to lift the vaccine mandate, adding the decision will “allow more flexibility for local businesses to determine what makes the most sense for the health and safety of employees, guests and operations.”

The announcement is welcome news for hotels and resorts in Washington D.C. seeking to offer options for meeting planners and groups.

 “We appreciate the mayor's efforts to keep visitors and Washingtonian safe as we continue to battle with this pandemic,” said Elliott L. Ferguson, II, president and CEO of Destination DC. “Putting health over economics is the right thing to do, however there is a threshold and I think we have reached it. From a business perspective, this is a step in the right direction for our city and industry as we continue to lose business to other cities based on these restrictions.” 

Read more on meeting capacities and browse ALHI Hotels & Resorts in the region. Contact your GSO with specific questions.

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