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DC Mask Mandate May Be in Effect Through Thanksgiving If Vaccinations Don't Increase

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D.C. health officials hope the indoor mask mandate can be dropped by Thanksgiving — but that may not be possible if the numbers don’t improve. 

As D.C. enters its second week of a new mask mandate and the delta variant spreads, the number of people getting tested at pop-up testing sites has jumped. The number of new cases is rising daily, though, and the number of people getting vaccinated is stagnant, at about 1,000 people per day. 

Patrick Ashley, a senior deputy director of the D.C. health department, said the mask mandate is likely to be in effect for weeks to come. 

“We’re very hopeful that we’ll get back to normal around the holidays,” he said. 

“We’re hopeful that by Thanksgiving we’ll be in a different spot, but that relies on people getting vaccinated,” Ashley added. 

In other COVID-19 updates in D.C., a growing number of restaurants, theaters and gyms require proof of vaccination to enter. VIDA Fitness announced they will require it. 

“We are part of the city, and we know the right thing to do is to require vaccinations,” company president David von Storch said. “They’re available everywhere. There’s just no excuse anymore for not being vaccinated.” 

RTR Pilates, which has locations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, also will require proof of vaccination. 

On enforcement of the mask mandate, the D.C. agency that regulates bars and restaurants with liquor licenses received five complaints about compliance with the mask mandate in its first week, the agency said. They issued 11 verbal warnings to establishments. 

Finally, sources say an announcement is expected this week on a vaccination requirement for D.C. government workers. The mayor’s office has been in negotiations with unions.

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