Fitness leader changes tune on DC mask mandate

About a month after it was lifted, the D.C. indoor mask mandate was reinstated Tuesday morning, leading to masks once again being required in most indoor public places.

The mandate is not exactly welcome news at gyms.

“It’s extremely frustrating to work out with a mask on,” said Bryan Myers, CEO of Solidcore, which has fitness studios in the District.

However, Myers said he supports the return of the mandate given the recent rise in COVID-19 cases.

“It feels prudent to take steps to try to stem the rise,” Myers said. “We are happy to do our part to keep the community safe at this point.”

Earlier in the year, Myers led an effort asking D.C. leaders to relax the mask mandate for the fitness industry.

Now, he says things have changed.

“Cases were low and they were on the decline,” Myers said. “We are in a very different situation right now with the omicron variant spreading rapidly.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the mask mandate would be in effect until Jan. 31.

“If we need to keep it on, then we’ll re-up it at that time,” Bowser said.

“I do think it’s the right thing to do,” said Leilah Mooney Joseph, a mother and public school parent in D.C.

Joseph said that she wished D.C. leaders would have never lifted the mandate in the first place.



“It’s hard to feel like you want to pat someone on the back for doing the right thing when really it’s reversing damage that they caused,” Joseph said. “The damage that was caused by removing it for the last month is an inexcusable failure of leadership.”

Asked whether or not she regretted dropping the indoor mask mandate, Bowser said she doesn’t “regret evolving with the virus, which is exactly what we’ve done throughout the virus.”

Bowser also said that all D.C. employees, contractors, interns and grantees need to be fully vaccinated and get their booster. And there won’t be a test-out option.

A deadline for vaccination and the booster has not yet been set.

On the heels of Bowser’s announcement, Monumental Sports said it would require anyone two years and older to wear a face covering at Capital One Arena.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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