Fewer than 24 hours after the new indoor face mask requirement took effect in Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) was caught breaking her mandate by gathering with hundreds of people at an indoor wedding.
According to the Washington Examiner, Bowser on Saturday “officiated a wedding at The Line DC, a four-star hotel in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of the city.”
She was pictured not wearing a face mask.
Hundreds of guests, who were reportedly not wearing face masks either, attended the indoor event.
When confronted by a Washington Examiner writer — asked to “explain why she was maskless at an event now legally obligated to enforce mask compliance,” according to the Examiner — security reportedly blocked the journalist from the Democratic mayor.
However, in a statement provided to WTTG-TV, Bowser’s office said, in part, that Bowser did, in fact, wear a mask indoors. The statement did not address the photo of Bowser that clearly showed her indoors while not wearing a mask.
“On Saturday, July 31st, Mayor Bowser officiated an outdoor, rooftop wedding ceremony, followed by an indoor dinner,” the statement said. “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.”
Bowser’s violation of her own mandate came just one day after she was photographed attending her birthday celebration while maskless.
What does Bowser’s mask mandate say?
Bowser announced last Thursday that face masks would be required for people while indoors in the nation’s capital.
“We will continue to do what is necessary to keep D.C. safe,” Bowser said.
Bowser’s face mask mandate says face coverings are necessary because, without them, the health of people may be compromised. “Choosing not to wear a mask puts your own health as well as the health of others at risk,” the mandate states.
Importantly, Bowser’s mandate emphasizes that fully vaccinated people must also comply with the order.
“Everyone (including fully vaccinated people) must wear masks … in indoor public settings,” the mandate states. “This includes any business or establishment open to members of the public (including but not limited to: grocery stores, restaurants and bars (when not eating or drinking), places of worship, gyms, office buildings, libraries, indoor entertainment venues, and common areas of apartment or condominium complexes).”
The mandate also says that wearing a face mask “is not a substitute for physical distancing.”
Bowser’s mandate, despite being announced last Thursday, did not actually take effect until 5 a.m. on Saturday.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include a statement from Mayor Bowser’s office.