News & Politics

DC Is Ending Its Vaccination and Mask Mandates

The vaxx mandate had only been in place for one month.

DC vaccine mandate sign. Photograph by Jessica Sidman.

DC’s vaccination mandate—which just went into place January 15—is ending tomorrow, February 15.

Businesses with indoor venues will no longer be required to check a patron’s vaccination status, Mayor Muriel Bowser said during a press conference on Monday. Businesses can enforce their own vaccine requirements as a condition of entry, if desired.

Bowser said that the District had finally seen enough of a vaccination push in residents to feel comfortable lifting the mandate. “I will say we looked very closely at our levels of vaccination, we did see at the height of omicron….more people going out to get vaccinated. But we’ve also seen those numbers start to decline. We do believe that we’ve gotten the push out of the vaccine requirement for indoor venues that we’re gonna get,” she said.

Bowser is also curtailing the city’s indoor mask mandate. Beginning March 1, masks will no longer be required at a number of indoor venues including restaurants, bars, sports and entertainment venues, gyms, businesses, retail establishments, and grocery stores.

Masks will still be required at schools; libraries; childcare and healthcare facilities; nursing homes; DC government offices that serve the public (such as the DMV); on public transit and in taxis and ride shares. In addition, any business that decides to continue requiring masking is free to do so.

The city is also is ending its testing services at District firehouses at the end of the month; residents will still be able to get tested at the city’s dedicated Covid centers.

Does this mean the city won’t ever go back to mask or vaxx mandates? “What we know is that we have to be nimble, if something should change, like it changed in December with a new very contagious variant. I don’t think any of us can say here that there won’t be other variants that require us to do something different,” Bowser said.

Listen below for the entire press conference.

Tori Bergel
Editorial Fellow