On July 22, 2020, to combat the District’s increase in coronavirus cases, Mayor Muriel Bowser signed an Order that mandates the use of masks in the District of Columbia. Effective immediately, all persons must wear a mask in common areas of apartments, condominiums, and cooperatives. Also, businesses, office buildings, and other types of establishments open to the public must post signage noting that persons may not enter unless they are wearing a mask. Businesses, office buildings, and other “establishments” are now empowered to “exclude or attempt to eject persons” who are not wearing masks or who remove their masks.  The Order  mandates that employers in the District of Columbia provide masks to their employees.

Mayor Bowser’s Order requires individuals “leaving their residence” to wear a mask “when they are likely to come into contact with another person,” including being within six feet of another person for more than a “fleeting time.” Wearing a mask is also required when operating or are a passenger in a taxi or other ride-share transportation (like Uber or Lyft), and on all other forms of public transportation (e.g., buses or the Metro). 

There are a few limited exceptions to the Order.  A mask is not required when “actually” eating, drinking, or legally smoking or if a person is engaged in vigorous outdoor exercise and is maintaining appropriate social distance. Additionally, a mask is not required if equipment required for a job precludes wearing a mask or if a person is in an enclosed office that no one else is permitted to enter. Individuals who have a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a mask are also exempted.