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VERIFY: Fact-checking questions about DC's new mask order

On July 22, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued an order generally requiring that people wear masks when they leave home.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — As we get more information about COVID-19 protection policies across the DMV, we also get more confusion.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser issued a new mask order on July 22, which generally requires anyone leaving home to wear a mask. It does provide some exceptions though. 

"If you're waiting for a bus, you must have on a mask. If you are ordering food at a restaurant, you must have on a mask. If you are sitting in a cubicle in an open office, you must have on a mask," Bowser said Wednesday. "We know that masks are effective and are an effective tool at helping us stop the spread of the virus."

Immediately after the order was announced, questions began popping up online. Our Verify team worked to get answers. 

QUESTION 1: 

Do you have to wear a mask while exercising inside at a gym?

ANSWER 1:

Yes. The mayor's order provides an exception for someone who is doing "vigorous" exercise outdoors and socially distancing.

SOURCES:

Mayor’s Order 2020-080

A spokesperson for Mayor Muriel Bowser's office

QUESTION 2:

Does the mayor's new mask order mean you should wear one on a short walk alone or while walking your dog?

ANSWER 2:

Yes, a spokesperson confirmed that in the District, one must wear a mask before leaving to go for a walk.

SOURCE:

A spokesperson for Mayor Muriel Bowser's office

QUESTION 3:

Are police officers required to wear masks?

ANSWER 3:

Yes, a spokesperson for the mayor's office confirmed the mask order would include police officers.

Police Chief Peter Newsham issued an executive order Wednesday, which said that all on-duty personnel must wear a department-issued or authorized mask when they are outside and when they are inside and others are present.

"MPD’s on-duty mask requirements have always mirrored the Mayor’s Order," a spokesperson for the department said. "MPD continues to do our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city, including encouraging and educating the public on wearing masks and adhering to the Mayor’s orders."

SOURCES:

Mayor’s Order 2020-080

MPD Executive Order- EO-20-043 "CORONAVIRUS 2019: UPDATED MASK REQUIREMENTS" 

MPD spokesperson

A spokesperson for Bowser's office

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