In a press conference Wednesday, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser asked community leaders to help enforce the city’s rules about mass gatherings. Currently, Phase 2 of reopening caps gatherings at 50 people.
“What’s going to make us safer is ANC commissioners, community groups who see these types of activities, who know the people who are involved, to get them to stop participating in that type of activity,” says Bowser.
Questions regarding the implementation of mass gathering rules were spawned by a video posted this weekend that showed more than 50 people at a concert in Oxon Run Park—many without masks. When a reporter noted the police hadn’t intervened despite being present at the event, Bowser pointed to ongoing conversations regarding race and arrests.
“Let’s not act like we haven’t spent the past six weeks saying that the police shouldn’t lock up young black people. Let’s not pretend that’s not happening,” says Bowser. “So our communities have to take some responsibility, including ANC commissioners, in saying, Look, this activity is anti-public health.”
However, the mayor did instruct businesses to call the police if they are afraid of a potentially violent response while confronting customers without masks. When pressed on whether DC’s Metropolitan Police Department will actually enforce the order when called, Bowser came short of saying fines or arrests would be issued.
“MPD will be made aware of the complaint,” Bowser says.