Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an executive order on Wednesday that requires everyone over the age of 2 to wear a mask outside of their homes, and anyone who is caught violating the mask order will face a fine up to $1,000.
The more restrictive mask requirement comes as the total number of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus cases in the district has crept upward, reaching triple digits on Wednesday for the first time in weeks.
“Persons leaving their residences shall wear a mask when they are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time,” according to a statement provided by Bowser’s office.
The order also requires indoor mask use in businesses and office buildings open to the public and in communal spaces in apartment buildings and condominiums.
She also provided updates in a series of tweets, explaining that “inspectors now have the ability to immediately issue $1,000 fines.”
5/ For the most part, our businesses are doing the right thing; however, enforcement is needed to ensure the safety of all residents. To file a complaint with @DCGov_ABRA, call 202-329-6347 or visit https://t.co/mIFAjcD4rs. pic.twitter.com/p76qTL941z
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) July 22, 2020
Bowser also said the state of emergency and public health emergency declarations will be extended for the District of Columbia through Oct. 9.
According to the statement, limited exceptions to the order include children who are two years old or younger, people “actively eating or drinking” and people “vigorously exercising outdoors” while not close to anyone else.
Bowser has advised residents for months to wear masks outdoors when social distancing was not possible. But Wednesday’s announcement formalizes that advice into an executive order for the first time.
Earlier in March, Bowser’s office issued a press release threatening anyone who violates her stay-at-home order with fines of up to $5,000 and 90 days of imprisonment.
“Due to an increasing number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Washington, DC and across the region and the nation, Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a stay-at-home order for the District of Columbia. This order reinforces the Mayor’s direction to residents to stay at home except to perform essential activities,” the release stated.
“Our message remains the same: stay home,” the mayor said at the time. “Staying at home is the best way to flatten the curve and protect yourself, your family, and our entire community from COVID-19. Many people want to know how they can help right now, and for most people this is how—by staying home”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.