Fauci Goes Maskless in D.C., Which Exempts ‘on Duty’ Government Employees from Enforcement

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, center, smiles as he watches an opening day baseball game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees at Nationals Park, Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP Photo

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the face of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, was spotted going maskless in D.C. on Thursday evening as the rest of the city abides by Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) recent mask mandate, which requires those ages three and older to wear masks but exempts “on duty” lawmakers and government employees. Violation of the order can result in up to $1,000 in fines per violation.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director caught fire after enjoying what amounted to a private viewing of the Washington Nationals’ season opener after throwing the first pitch, sitting between two people despite a sea of empty seats. Photos also show a gleeful Fauci hanging his mask over his chin:

His seeming disregard for his own recommendations come as those within the district are expected to abide by the Wednesday order signed by Bowser requiring masks in most 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.

It applies to everyone ages three and over and contains standard exceptions — those who are “actively” eating or drinking or “vigorously” exercising. The Metropolitan Police Department has been authorized to enforce the order on all those ages 18 and older. Violators can be subject to a fine of $1,000 per violation. However, on-duty government employees and lawmakers are exempt from enforcement.

“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.

Fauci is a federal employee but was not demonstratively “on duty” at the time, piquing further questions on enforcement of the order.

Fauci’s maskless baseball moment also comes as D.C. authorities investigate President Trump and the Trump International Hotel in the nation’s capital for an alleged mask violation, as detailed by the Washington Post:

The president’s maskless appearance at the Trump International Hotel this week — in apparent defiance of D.C. coronavirus regulations — caught the attention of local authorities, who inspected the hotel on Wednesday to check for compliance with city rules.

The investigator found no violations at the time of the visit, but the agency pledged to continue monitoring the hotel.

But President Trump did not wear a mask while greeting GOP congressional candidate Madison Cawthorn on Monday at his downtown Washington hotel, according to video of their interaction. Nor did multiple guests standing near one another in the lobby, the video shows.

Notably, Fauci, who currently advocates wearing masks, did not feel the same way in March.

“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” Fauci said at the time.

“And, often, there are unintended consequences — people keep fiddling with the mask and they keep touching their face,” he added.

Fauci now says we would be “somewhat better off if people were continually wearing masks back then.”

“I mean, you acted on the information you had at the time,” Fauci said during a Friday appearance on Fox News Channel’s America’s Newsroom.

“I believe that in the context of that it was not unreasonable what was being done, but as you get more information, the way we have right now, there’s no question of what we should be doing, and that’s why everyone is uniformly recommending the use of masks,” he added.

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