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D.C. Scratches Vax and Mask Requirements for Restaurants

The latest indoor mask mandate lifts on Tuesday, March 1

Vaccine Proof Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

In light of improving COVID-19 metrics in D.C., restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues no longer have to check patrons’ vax status or require masks indoors, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced on Monday, February 14.

For the past month, D.C. diners have had to provide proof of at least one vaccine jab. The mandate’s sudden reversal, effective Tuesday, February 15, comes on the same day proof of two shots were set to be required at the door.

The latest indoor mask mandate, reinstated right before Christmas, will also be lifted at certain establishments starting March 1. Masks will no longer be required in restaurants and bars, sports and entertainment venues, gyms, houses of worship, grocery stores, and others.

Masks will still be a must in schools, child care facilities, libraries, public transit, taxis, ride share vehicles, and certain D.C. government facilities.

Businesses can still require masks and proof of vax at their own discretion, Bowser adds.

Last month, D.C. joined a growing list of urban areas cracking down on vaccine requirements as the highly infectious omicron variant rapidly spreaded coast to coast. In response to a record-setting spike in new COVID-19 cases during the holidays, D.C. diners 12 and over were required to show proof they have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of mid-January.

As new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations drop across the country, cities like Philly, Chicago, and Denver are also starting to shed proof-of-vax and mask requirements this month.

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