District of Columbia Issues New Face Mask Order

July 22, 2020 by Dan McCue
Virus Outbreak Washington

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a new face mask order Wednesday after the city saw a marked increase in coronavirus cases, particularly among those under 40.

“Basically it says, if you leave home, you should wear a mask,” Bowser said.

“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 said.

Exceptions to the rule include children under three, eating or drinking, vigorously exercising outdoors and away from other people, or being in an enclosed office by yourself.

City officials said Wednesday that 66% of new cases between July 1 and July 20 were people under 40; prior to July 1, 41% of cases were people under 40

Since July 1, the positivity rate among D.C. residents under 40 is 3.4% compared to 2.5% for residents 40 and older.

Since July 1, the percent of hospitalized cases that are people under age 40 has doubled (from 16% to 29%), compared to hospitalized cases before July 1.

Bowser said she also intends to extend the state of emergency in the city and that additional “enforcement language” will be included in the order, though she did not specify what that would be.

The mayor conceded, “we’re all pretty sick of dealing with the pandemic. We’re four months in, people are tired and, in some cases, are letting down their guards.”

“But we all want to get on the other side of this virus. So it is important that we remain vigilant,” she said.

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