Bowser slams reports she went maskless indoors: ‘If you want to report on the right-wing wingnuts, have at it’

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Tuesday slammed conservative media reports that she went maskless indoors last weekend in defiance of her own mandate.

“Let me clear something up, because if you want to report on the right-wing wingnuts, have at it,” Bowser said during a Tuesday news conference at the reopening of the Washington Convention Center. “But I’m not going to give it a lot of energy.”

“We all know what the rule says about sitting at a dining table and dining. Don’t be ridiculous.”

The mayor continued to hit back at critics.

“What I know is we have a lot of COVID deniers out there who are largely responsible for the country not being able to recover from COVID, because for many months, they have been telling their followers not to get vaccinated, who have spent two or three days spreading disinformation,” Bowser said.

“I officiated a lovely wedding on a rooftop. The right-wingers, you know what they said? I officiated a wedding indoors — already a lie from the top. They took a picture of me at a table where dinner and drinks were served,” she said.

Bowser added that the reports didn’t show the whole time she was there or when she had a mask on because “they have a little thing they’re trying to do.”

“They’re trying, after many months of telling people not to get vaccinated, to also now say that they shouldn’t be masked or that, very falsely, that we’re not having weddings, parties and events in D.C.,” Bowser said. “D.C. is open.”

The District, she said, wants people to get vaccinated, to have weddings, parties and events — and to wear masks where required.

“It’s that simple,” Bowser said, adding that the people she saw at the wedding who weren’t wearing masks were seated at dinner tables.

“A mask mandate is not about gotchas. If that’s what you think it is, you’re wrong,” Bowser said.

Bowser’s order, which went into effect at 5 a.m. Saturday morning, states in Section II: “All persons must wear masks indoors as prescribed by DC Health guidance and regulations, as may be updated from time to time. All persons are encouraged to adhere to other non-compulsory provisions of DC Health guidance.”

Further down, in Section V, Part 4, there is an exception: “The enforcement provisions of this Order shall not be applied to persons in the federal government or legislative branch of the District government while those persons are on duty.”

Bowser’s office issued a statement Monday saying she was complying with the mandate, and that reports calling Bowser’s mandate into question are “riddled with disinformation.”

Will DC follow NYC in requiring proof of vaccination?

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that the city will soon require proof of COVID-19 vaccinations for anyone who wants to dine indoors at a restaurant, see a performance or go to the gym — the first big city in the U.S. to impose such restrictions.

Bowser was asked if D.C. might follow suit.

“I’m going to read all about it, see what they’re going to do,” the mayor said. “I think that we are entering a different and new phase of this pandemic, a phase, unfortunately, that we hoped to avoid by more people getting vaccinated earlier so the virus didn’t mutate.”

She said the virus is going to be around and that there will be new infections.

“And the message continues to be that [the] vaccine saves lives. So I can assure you that the District is going to evaluate anything that works for D.C.,” Bowser said.

“And as this thing evolves — and one thing I know, 16, 17 months of dealing with this, it evolves — the public health guidance changes, and we will evolve too.”

Watch Bowser’s complete news conference is below.


More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.


Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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