In a sudden reversal, the city of Washington D.C. announced that it will be ending its vaccine passport requirement on Tuesday, and will let its indoor mask mandate expire on March 1st.
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the surprise announcement by Mayor Muriel Bowser (D-D.C.) comes just one month after the nation’s capital first implemented the controversial and highly restrictive measure back in January. Under the mandate, anyone in D.C. who wanted to enter a business had to show a card proving that they had been vaccinated for COVID-19.
Bowser emphasized that in addition to the expiration of the vaccine passport, the city will no longer require masks in indoor settings starting on March 1st, including restaurants, bars, gyms, and churches. However, masks will still be required in schools, as well as other educational facilities such as libraries, medical facilities such as nursing homes and healthcare facilities, and on public transit.
Bowser claims that the decision was due to a drop in the overall number of positive cases and hospitalizations. However, it is more generally accepted that the sudden change, as seen in many other states, is due to the massive shift in widespread opinion towards such restrictions, and the increasing political unpopularity of mask mandates.
Nevertheless, Bowser insisted that she had the power to re-implement similar restrictions in the future if she felt like it, saying that “what we know is that we have to be nimble if something should change, like it changed in December with a new, very contagious variant.” Bowser was referencing the South Africa variant of the virus, also known as the Omicron variant.
Despite the overwhelming tide of states and other jurisdictions dropping their mandates, the Biden Administration has continued demanding that mask mandates remain in place, with both Biden and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky claiming that their “guidance” continues to call for universal masking in schools and other indoor locations.