Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser reinstated an indoor mask mandate for all city residents on Thursday, including those who are vaccinated.
“Beginning this Saturday at 5AM, I will issue the directive that people over the age of 2 must wear a mask indoors, regardless of their vaccination status,” Bowser said at a press conference. “I know D.C. residents have been very closely following public health guidelines, and they will embrace this.”
The announcement comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that all Americans, including those vaccinated against coronavirus, wear masks indoors in areas with high coronavirus transmission. Those areas include localities, such as Washington, with over 50 new cases per week per 100,000 residents.
“Things have changed throughout the course of [the pandemic], and we have to adapt, too,” Bowser said. “I think it won’t be a big lift for a lot of folks.”
While the seven-day average of new cases has risen in the District from nine in June to 59 on Wednesday, only two people have died of COVID-19 in the past two weeks in Washington.
The CDC announced its masking recommendations in response to the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus, which is more contagious than previous variants. The vast majority of hospitalizations from the new variant have occurred among unvaccinated Americans.