Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an order Wednesday that proclaimed any person older than two-years-old not wearing a mask could be fined up to $1,000.
“Basically what it says is, if you leave home, you should wear a mask,” Bowser said at a press conference. “This means, if you’re waiting for a bus, you must have on a mask. If you are ordering food at a restaurant, you must have on a mask. If you’re sitting in a cubicle in an open office, you must have on a mask.”
Bowser’s office issued a press release in March threatening fines of up to $5,000 and 90 days in jail for citizens who violated her stay-at-home order.
“Today, due to an increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Washington, DC and across the region and the nation, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia,” it read. “This order reinforces the Mayor’s direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities.”
Bowser said herself, “Our message remains the same: stay home. Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how – by staying home.”
The new order reads as follows, “Persons must wear a mask in the common areas of apartments, condominiums and cooperatives. Businesses, office buildings, and other establishments open to members of the public shall post signage on their exterior doors stating that a person may not enter unless the person is wearing a mask.”
“In addition, the business, office building, or other establishment shall exclude or attempt to eject persons who are not wearing masks or who remove their required masks,” the order states. “Employers shall provide masks to their employees.”
The order continued, “Persons leaving their residences shall wear a mask when they are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time; and persons who are operating or a passenger in a taxi or a vehicle that is part of a Transportation Network Company, or who are a passenger on or operator of any form of public transit in the District, including a bus, subway, streetcar, shuttle bus or van, or school bus, must wear a mask at all such times.”
Here is a list of exceptions to the law contained in the order.
“A person is a resident or guest in a private home or apartment; a person is actually eating, drinking, or legally smoking; a person is engaged in vigorous outdoor exercise and is maintaining social distance of at least six (6) feet from each other person; a person is in the water at a swimming pool; a person is in an enclosed office that no one else is permitted to enter; a person is aged two (2) years old or younger;
a person is unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition or disability, or is physically unable to remove a mask;
a person is giving a speech for broadcast or an audience, provided no one is within six feet of the speaker; a deaf or hard of hearing person needs to read the lips of a speaker; the equipment required for a job precludes the wearing of a mask and the person is wearing that equipment, or when wearing a mask would endanger public safety, or a person has been lawfully asked to remove the mask for facial recognition purposes.”
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