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Masks are required again in parts of the DMV. Here's where

The increasing Delta variant spread of COVID-19 is to blame for a summertime renewal of prevention measures

WASHINGTON — For much of the DMV, the time has come to mask up again, with the District leading the charge as the first locality to mandate masks be worn indoors, regardless of vaccination status. 

The new change comes just as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention laid down new guidance amid a national rise in case counts and ongoing concerns about the spread of the Delta variant among vaccinated populations. 

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Tuesday that even vaccinated people should return to wearing masks indoors in areas with substantial or high amounts of community transmission of COVID-19. She went on to specify that substantial transmission means there have been 50-100 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period and high transmission means an area has seen more than 100 cases per 100,000 over a 7-day period.

Here's where masks are now required or recommended across the metro area:


REQUIRED: Modes of transport

Masks are still required on all modes of transport, such as on the metro, busses, airports and on planes and in all airports. This guidance has not changed in 2021. 


REQUIRED: Indoor spaces in the District

Masks will be mandatory indoors everywhere in D.C. for anyone over the age of two, regardless of vaccination status, starting July 31. 

RELATED: DC mandates masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status

REQUIRED: Nationals Park

All ticketed fans are now required to wear an approved face covering at all times when in an indoor area at Nationals Park, regardless of vaccination status, unless they are actively eating or drinking.

In addition, if you are ticketed into a suite at Nationals Park and you elect to have your suite glass closed you must wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking. If you request to have your suite glass open, you do not need to wear a mask if you are fully vaccinated. Those who do not comply with the mandatory face-covering policy will receive a verbal warning followed by potential removal from the ballpark. 

Permitted face coverings as specified by the park are: KN95, N95, Cloth, Surgical/3-Ply and a face shield (only when accompanied by another approved face covering).

REQUIRED: The Smithsonian Museums

The institution has announced masks will be required for all visitors in indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status beginning Friday, July 30.  

Fully vaccinated visitors will not be required to wear a mask in outdoor areas at the National Zoo and the Smithsonian’s outdoor gardens but must wear a mask to visit indoor areas, including restrooms, Smithsonian Public Affairs Officer Madeleine Weyand-Geise said in an email Thursday.

REQUIRED: DC Public Schools

DCPS will fully re-open to all students for in-person learning starting August 30, however, all students, staff and visitors will be required to wear face coverings until further notice, as stated in DCPS's reopening portal.


REQUIRED: Alexandria City Facilities

Starting July 30, the City of Alexandria will require all visitors and employees to wear masks when inside city facilities, regardless of vaccination status. 

REQUIRED: Arlington Public Schools

Although classroom capacities will return to pre-pandemic levels, APS will continue to mandate that all staff, students and visitors wear masks while inside buildings and school busses, as stated on the district's website. However, students with recess will no longer be required to wear face coverings while outdoors.

REQUIRED: Alexandria City Public Schools

As of March 3, ACPS will still require all staff, students and visitors to wear face coverings while inside buildings or on school busses, as found in the district's COVID protocols booklet.

REQUIRED: Fairfax County Public Schools

FCPS announced their decision on July 28, one day after the CDC recommended masks be worn indoors at all schools, that they will start the school year with universally required masking. 

REQUIRED: Prince William County Public Schools

Students, teachers, staff and visitors will be required to wear masks indoors at Prince William County Schools (PWCS) for the new school year, regardless of vaccination status. 

REQUIRED: Loudoun County Public Schools

LCPS will require all students and staff to wear masks regardless of their vaccination status to start the 2021-2022 school year. 

RECCOMENDED:  Anywhere that is indoors and in public across the state, as stated in a tweet from Governor Ralph Northam Thursday.  According to the Virginia Department of Health, 53.8% of Virginia residents are fully vaccinated.

RECOMMENDED: Arlington County is recommending the public wear masks indoors, due to the CDC upgrading the county to "substantial" transmission. Much of Northern Virginia is now in the same category. 

RELATED: CDC: Vaccinated people are recommended to wear masks indoors, again. Here are the DMV counties impacted


REQUIRED: Montgomery County

On August 5, the Montgomery Council approved a new Board of Health regulation that will require people to wear masks indoors. The regulation starts at midnight on August 7. 

REQUIRED: Montgomery County Public Schools  

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will require all students, teachers and staff to mask up, regardless of vaccination status, when entering school buildings this fall. The mask mandate will apply to elementary, middle and high schools, and will be enforced inside all school buildings and on buses. MCPS clarified that masks will not be required outside, but are strongly recommended for unvaccinated people. 

REQUIRED: Prince George's County

Prince George's County has announced plans to reinstate a public indoor mask mandate on August 8 at 5 p.m. People will be required to wear a mask when in public indoor areas regardless of vaccination status. This includes restaurants, retail stores, entertainment venues, conference centers and office settings. 

REQUIRED: Prince George's County Public Schools 

Prince George's County Public School will continue to mandate mask-wearing for all students and staff for the upcoming 2021-2022 school year, CEO Monica Goldson announced July 26. 

REQUIRED: City of Laurel

Mayor Craig A. Moe announced on August 5 that the city will be reinstating its indoor face mask police for everyone entering a city building or facility. The police will go into effect on August 6 at 8 a.m. 

REQUIRED: Howard County Public Schools

Superintendent Dr. Michael Martirano outlined that, effective immediately, masks will be required in school buildings for all students, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status.

Masks also will be required while on school buses. Masks will not be required for any students or staff while eating/drinking indoors. Masks will not be required outdoors, however, they are recommended for unvaccinated individuals.

REQUIRED: City of Gaithersburg Facilities

Masks are required to be worn by all visitors over the age of two and all staff members while in City of Gaithersburg facilities, regardless of vaccination status Social distancing is also recommended while inside city buildings. 

REQUIRED: Anne Arundel County Facilities

Effective Aug. 5, masks will be mandatory inside all county buildings -- including libraries, senior centers, and all office buildings -- for all individuals regardless of vaccination status. 

"Vaccination remains the most effective weapon against the virus," County Executive Steuart Pittman tweeted. "I have spoken with our department heads and union leaders, and beginning September 13, all county employees must show proof of COVID vaccination or weekly evidence of a negative COVID test to report to work."

REQUIRED: City of Annapolis Facilities

Annapolis will follow Anne Arundel County guidance and mandate masks inside all city buildings for employees and visitors alike, starting Aug.5. All city employees will also be required to show proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID testing. 

REQUIRED: Prince George's County government buildings

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced on Aug. 5 that masks will be required inside all County government buildings for employees beginning Friday, Aug. 6 at 5 p.m.

RELATED: For now, Montgomery County vaccinated residents won't need to mask up indoors

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