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Tipsheet

DC Mayor Skewered Over New Announcement About Masking

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

The masks are coming off in Washington, D.C. - for most anyway.

According to Mayor Muriel Bowser, beginning March 1, masks will no longer be required for indoor settings, such as restaurant and bars, gyms, entertainment venues, businesses, some government buildings, and houses of worship.

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While that’s welcome news to many in the district, there are still several areas where Bowswer is keeping her mask mandate in place, including schools and childcare facilities, healthcare settings, and public transit. 

The announcement comes as cases in D.C., driven largely by the Omicron variant, have dropped by more than 90 percent.

Bowser’s order differs from other Democratic leaders who in recent days have announced school mask mandates are ending, including in New Jersey, Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon, and Delaware.

Critics blasted Bowser for her "anti-science" and "shameful" insistence that schoolchildren continue to mask up, despite the extremely low risk Covid-19 poses to them. 

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As Sen. John Thune and Rep. Steve Scalise point out in a recent opinion piece, the United States is not in line with the WHO or Europe's position on this.

"The United States is an outlier in how it treats young people during this pandemic. The World Health Organization explicitly states that 'children aged 5 years and under should not be required to wear masks … based on the safety and overall interest of the child.' Also, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control doesn’t recommend mask-wearing for children under the age of 12," they write. 

"A face mask may be one of the most debilitating learning barriers for young children," the lawmakers continue. "The early years are when kids learn to recognize facial cues, understand emotions, and speak and express themselves. Prolonged masking directly interferes with a student’s ability to learn verbal and non-verbal communication skills, which can set them back for the rest of their life."

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