May 17, 2022

Volume XII, Number 137

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May 16, 2022

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More Whiplash — DC Brings Back Mask Mandate and Encourages Vaccine Mandates

Effective December 21, 2021, through at least January 31, 2022, DC law requires that all individuals wear masks in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status. As we previously reported, just last month DC Mayor Muriel Bowser significantly scaled back the District’s indoor mask mandate, which had required masks in all indoor public places since the end of July.

According to the latest order, “[s]ection II of Mayor’s Order 2021-097, dated July 29, 2021, is reinstated, to the extent that it requires all persons to wear masks indoors.” This requirement applies in the following locations, among others: (i) businesses, except for enclosed offices where no other persons may enter; (ii) restaurants and taverns when persons are not actively eating or drinking; (iii) sports and entertainment venues; (iv) gyms, recreation centers, and other indoor athletic facilities; (v) grocery stores and pharmacies; (vi) big box stores; (vii) retail establishments; and (viii) common areas of hotels. The order authorizes the DC Department of Health to promulgate further regulations and guidance on the scope and implementation of the mandate.

In addition, the order “strongly encourages” businesses and other private establishments to require their employees and visitors be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 consistent with federal and District law and to have “robust procedures in place for verifying documentation of such vaccination.” DC employers must also comply with the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave Emergency Amendment Act of 2021 which, as we previously reported, requires employers to provide paid leave to employees and their children for time spent obtaining and, if needed, recovering from side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine, and unpaid leave for other COVID-19 related absences.

We will continue to monitor and report on further developments from DC, including the forthcoming guidance from DC Health.

© 2022 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 355
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About this Author

Guy Brenner, Labor Attorney, Proskauer Rose, arbitration proceedings Lawyer
Partner

Guy Brenner is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Group. He has extensive experience representing employers in both single-plaintiff and class action matters, as well as in arbitration proceedings. He also regularly assists federal government contractors with the many special employment-related compliance challenges they face.

Guy represents employers in all aspects of employment and labor litigation and counseling, with an emphasis on non-compete and trade secrets issues,...

202-416-6830
Arielle Kobetz, Proskauer Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

Arielle Kobetz is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. She assists employers in a wide range of areas, including discrimination, wage and hour, and traditional labor.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Arielle served as a law clerk at the New York City Human Resources Administration, Employment Law Unit, where she worked on a variety of employment discrimination and internal employee disciplinary issues. 

212-969-3304
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