Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser went maskless indoors over the weekend just days after reinstating the city’s mask mandate, The Washington Examiner reports.
Bowser was photographed at a wedding reception where hundreds of unmasked guests gathered.
Bowser did not wear a mask “despite not actively eating or drinking,” according to the report.
The photo came days after Bowser announced that residents will be required to wear masks indoors following a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to mask up in areas with low vaccination rates or high transmission.
The order surprised some since more than 60% of adults in DC and more than 75% of seniors have been vaccinated.
Bowser’s office pushed back on the report.
“If Mayor Bowser was photographed indoors without a mask, it was during the indoor dinner, when she was eating or drinking,” a spokesman told WTOP. “The Mayor wore a mask indoors in compliance with the mandate, and the organizers and venue staff worked to create a safe environment for the staff and guests.”
An earlier photo showed Bowser posing with comedian Dave Chappelle and others, though that was before the mask mandate went into effect.
“The Friday, July 30th evening event called into question by conservative media was outdoors, on a rooftop,” the Mayor’s Office said. “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.”
Other cities resist:
While some cities and counties have reimposed mask mandates as the Delta variant causes Covid infections to surge, most major cities have avoided bringing back mask requirements.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday said he would not bring back an indoor mask mandate but urged residents to wear masks indoors.
"Everything we're doing is based on data and science, but it's also based on strategy," de Blasio said. "The overwhelming strategic thrust is vaccination, so we thought the right mix was to heavily focus on vaccination, continue to climb the ladder with more and more vaccine requirements in place, and to give a very clear message to all New Yorkers strongly recommending mask usage regardless of vaccination status. But we thought that was the right balance."