White House won’t be following DC Mayor Bowser in lifting COVID-19 mask requirement indoors

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The White House does not plan to follow Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s decision to end the requirement that people mask indoors.

“The White House follows CDC guidance which recommends masking in areas of high or substantial transmission,” White House assistant press secretary Kevin Munoz told Fox News’ Patrick Ward Tuesday.

The decision comes after Bowser announced that the city was lifting the requirement for masks for indoor settings, such as offices and retail spaces, ending the rule that has been in place since July 2020. Businesses will still be allowed to require masks if they choose, but will not be legally required.

“We are encouraged by the numbers that have opted into vaccination now, some of them encouraged by mandates,” Bowser said Monday of her plans to end the mandate. “There may even be an increase in cases … but what we haven’t seen is an increase in hospitalizations and deaths. That is the promise of vaccination.”

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser.
(Caroline Brehman/Pool via CQ Roll Call)

The city will still require masks in specific indoor settings, including schools and childcare facilities, congregate facilities and D.C. government facilities.

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Bowser said that moving forward, the city will “create guidance based on risk levels and the use of layered mitigation strategies.”

In this Saturday, Sept. 19, 2020, file photo, an American flag flies at half-staff over the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

But still requiring masks in congregate facilities could also open up the city to more lawsuits, having already paid out $220,000 to Capitol Hill Baptist Church earlier this year after the church sued the city over COVID-19 mandates it said restricted in-person worship.

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