Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser has hit back at claims she violated her own rules on mask wearing at a wedding she officiated just after the new regulations were imposed.
The right-wing Washington Examiner claimed that at an indoor portion of the event, Ms Bowser “was not sitting at the table designated for her during wedding toasts” and “did not wear a mask despite not actively eating or drinking”.
Ms Bowser’s office responded in a statement that she “wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organisers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests”.
“This weekend, conservative media outlets called into question the District’s mask mandate utilising reports riddled with disinformation,” the statement read.
“The mask mandate is for indoor settings (excluding while eating and drinking) and does not apply to outdoor settings. DC is open, and the mask guidance helps provide residents, workers and visitors an extra layer of protection while continuing their daily activities.
“On Saturday 31 July, Mayor Bowser officiated an outdoor, rooftop wedding ceremony, followed by an indoor dinner. The mayor wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organisers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests. The 30 July evening event called into question by conservative media was outdoors, on a rooftop.”
The Washington Examiner’s report hinges on a picture of Ms Bowser seated unmasked at a table in an apparently busy room whose occupants are also not wearing masks. The precise context is unclear.
Ms Bowser reimposed mask requirements after the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) renewed its recommendation that given the spread of the Delta variant in much of the US, even vaccinated people should wear masks indoors in areas with high rates of infection.
The District of Columbia has lost more than 1,100 residents to Covid-19, and has so far fully vaccinated some 56 per cent of its population. According to the statement announcing the new mask requirements, the new daily case rate has quintupled in just a few weeks.
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