Mayor’s office responds to reports Bowser went maskless indoors, defying new mandate

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office is pushing back against claims made by conservative media outlets that she went maskless indoors in defiance of her own indoor mask mandate, which was reinstated 5 a.m. Saturday.

The Washington Examiner reported Saturday night that Bowser officiated an outdoor wedding at The Line DC, a five-star hotel in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of the city.

In the Examiner article — which was published under the outlet’s Opinion section — Bowser is pictured at a table without a mask. The Examiner said Bowser was sitting at a table that wasn’t designated for her during wedding toasts and didn’t wear a mask, even though she was not actively eating or drinking.

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

“If Mayor Bowser was photographed indoors without a mask, it was during the indoor dinner, when she was eating or drinking,” the Mayor’s Office told WTOP in a statement.

The statement said Bowser did officiate the outdoor, rooftop wedding Saturday and attended an indoor dinner afterward.

“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.”

In photos and videos posted to social media, the bride, groom and other guests of the wedding are shown not wearing a mask indoors while on the dance floor. It’s not clear if Bowser was aware of the maskless dancing.

Photos shared on the bride’s Instagram story also show a number of guests posing for pictures inside without masks. Bowser is not shown in any of those photos.

The wedding was held just a day after photos posted to social media showed a maskless Bowser posing with comedian Dave Chappelle and others. Those photos were taken Friday, just before the mask mandate took effect.

“The Friday, July 30th evening event called into question by conservative media was outdoors, on a rooftop,” the Mayor’s Office said.

“The mask mandate is for indoor settings (excluding while eating and drinking) and does not apply to outdoor settings. DC is open, and the mask guidance helps provide residents, workers and visitors an extra layer of protection while continuing their daily activities,” the Mayor’s Office said.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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