D.C. to drop coronavirus vaccine requirement to enter businesses

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Masks will still be required in some congregate settings, like schools, public transit and emergency shelters, Bowser said.

Bowser’s decision to end the mandates comes amid mounting economic and political pressure on the region’s leaders to loosen pandemic restrictions; a slew of other states and cities relaxed indoor or in-school mask rules last week. As city officials have mulled how to balance residents’ safety with the desire to return to normalcy, Bowser, who is running this year for a third term in office, has repeatedly said the city would enact and ease restrictions depending on the course of the virus.

The District’s weekly coronavirus case rate per 100,000 residents was about 253 on Friday; it was about 1,300 per 100,000 residents just before Christmas when Bowser first announced the vaccine requirement. D.C., along with every other state in the country, is still in what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines as “high” transmission — or a weekly case rate above 100.

Neighboring jurisdictions also are cutting back on pandemic restrictions. Masks will no longer be required in Maryland state buildings starting next week, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced Monday. Hogan said the state’s health metrics warranted the change, noting hospitalizations have declined by 78 percent from last month’s peak.

The move follows Hogan’s advocacy last week pressing school officials to drop classroom mask mandates.

Erin Cox contributed to this report.



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