DC Mayor Declares Limited Public Health Emergency

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s order runs through January 26.

DC is the last jurisdiction in the region to declare a public emergency, but it will be the first to implement a vaccine mandate. Beginning Saturday, proof of vaccination will be required for people 12 and older to enter a restaurant, entertainment venue, gym or other places where people congregate.

The Association attended a briefing Tuesday where officials offered more details on the VaxDC plan. Here’s what we learned:

• People that want to claim exemptions must have some type of documentation (no detail on what that would look like), however, businesses can choose not to accept any exemptions.
• Every time a patron over 18 enters an establishment, they must have their ID and Vax card checked (it can be any "generally accepted" form of vaccination proof). This requirement can be waived if the establishment has on record, that they keep, that a person is vaccinated (i.e. if a gym records a member's positive vaccination status in their check-in system, and every time a gym member enters, the system shows that the member is vaccinated).
• People between 12 - 17 don't need to show ID, just a vax card.
• Boosters are not required yet, but "stay tuned."
• Contractors and vendors, like employees, are not required to be vaccinated. Only patrons of certain establishments.
• Outdoor seating areas at restaurants are not covered by this rule.
• If someone has a verified exemption, they must also have proof of a negative test. The test must be taken and the results provided within 24 hours of entering the establishment.