D.C. Mask Mandate Exempts Lawmakers and Government Employees

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser visits a coronavirus testing site in the Anacostia neighborhood June 10, 2020 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day Bowser held a press conference to give updates on the response to COVID-19 in the nation’s capital. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty …
Win McNamee/Getty Images

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) most recent mask mandate, which orders three-year-olds to cover their faces, exempts lawmakers and government employees while they are “on duty.”

Bowser issued the order Wednesday, mandating everyone over the age of two wear a mask in both indoor and outdoor settings.

“Under the new Mayor’s Order on masks, people must wear a mask when they leave their homes if they are likely to come into contact with another person for more than a fleeting moment,” the mayor’s office states.

While masking mandates across the nation, and in D.C., typically contain several exceptions — exempting the disabled, those who are actively eating, drinking, and people who are “vigorously” exercising — a closer look at Bowser’s executive action shows that the order does not apply to lawmakers, judges, or government employees while they are “on duty.”

 “The enforcement provisions of this Order shall not be applied to persons in the judicial or legislative branches of the District government while those persons are on duty; and shall not apply to any employees of the federal government while they are on duty,” the order states.

The Metropolitan Police Department is authorized to enforce the order on all of those ages 18 and older. Violators can be fined up to $1,000.

The mayor’s mask mandate is in effect until at least October 9, 2020.

Bowser’s order comes as officials in both state and local government positions ramp up their enforcement of mask mandates. Florida’s Miami-Dade County, for example, has dedicated a small unit of over three dozen officers to enforce the county’s mask mandate. First, second, and third-time violators can face fines of $50, $100, and $500, respectively. After that, the individual can face jail time.

Broward County, a neighbor to Miami-Dade, also has a mask order, which has generated buzz. While it does not specifically order residents to wear masks in their homes, it limits gatherings to ten and urges residents to enforce the county’s mask requirements within their own homes.

The order states in part (emphasis added):

All persons who reside on any residential property, whether single family or multi-family, and irrespective of whether they own or rent the property, must ensure that all persons on the residential property, including guests, comply with all applicable guidelines of any Broward County Emergency Order, including the facial covering requirements. Residents who fail to ensure compliance with all applicable Broward County Emergency Orders by such persons shall be subject to the penalties set forth in Section 8-56 of the Broward County Code of Ordinances, with each person present and in violation of an applicable Emergency Order constituting a separate violation.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) both announced statewide mask mandates on Wednesday. Ohio’s goes into effect Thursday at 6 p.m., and Minnesota’s goes into effect Saturday morning.


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