Washington DC

DC Council Considers Reinstating Proof of Vaccination Mandate

"Lifting this vaccine mandate right now ... it just doesn’t make a lot of sense"

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Just one day after the D.C. mayor lifted a mandate requiring proof of vaccination at indoor public places such as restaurants and gyms, members of the D.C. Council say they plan to vote in favor of reinstating the rule.

The mandate was in place for one month when D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that businesses would no longer be required to ask patrons for proof of vaccination beginning Tuesday.

"Since the height of omicron wave entered the District in December, cases have dropped more than 90%," Bowser said in a news conference Tuesday.

But some Council members pushed back shortly after Bowser's announcement and said it was too soon to lift the requirement.

"Lifting this vaccine mandate right now, when children still haven't been vaccinated, and we're just on the precipice of that ... it just doesn’t make a lot of sense," Ward 1 Council Member Brianne Nadeau said. "You know, my fear is lifting it now is going to be very similar to lifting the mask mandate at the end of last year and just having to put it back into place two weeks later."

Nadeau introduced emergency legislation to reinstate the mandate. Chairman Phil Mendelson said he plans to call a special session of the Council on Friday to take a vote.

Nine of the 13 Council members would need to vote "yes" in order to bring back the rule.

"I think there have been some members that have been really public about the mayor's action and wanting to see it reversed," she said. "Council Member Janeese Lewis George joined me in requesting the special legislative session for Friday. You know, Council Member Robert White and Council Member Elissa Silverman have shown their support. I've definitely heard support from Council members Henderson and Cheh as well."

Bowser would likely veto if the Council does approve reinstating the vaccine mandate.

The mayor's office declined to comment on the Council's effort.

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