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DC eases mask mandates, travel restrictions for fully vaccinated people

Some guidance has already been updated since it was originally released Friday night. Here's what you need to know.

WASHINGTON — Fully vaccinated people will be able to do more without wearing a mask under a new order from DC Mayor Muriel Bowser. 

People who are fully vaccinated, which means at least two weeks have passed since your J&J shot or second Moderna or Pfizer dose, now have a host of special rules according to the mayor's order. You can:

  • Gather outdoors with a small gathering of vaccinated and unvaccinated people without wearing a mask, but social distance must be maintained, and people in the group who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear masks.

  • Fully vaccinated people can visit with a small group of fully vaccinated people only at a private indoor setting without wearing a mask. (This is a reverse from the indoor mask guidance that was issued Friday night, which previously said people could gather indoors with other vaccinated people without wearing a mask.)

  • Travel in the U.S. without getting tested for COVID-19 before or after their trip. 
  • If it's an international flight, there are a few more rules. If you fly in from another country, you still need to show a negative test before boarding and get tested 3-5 days after you return. If you're flying from the U.S. to another country, you won't need to get tested or quarantine unless the other country requires it.
  • Continue activities after being exposed to someone with COVID-19 without needing to get tested or quarantine - unless you are symptoms or live in a group setting, in which case you will need to get tested and quarantine for 14 days.
  • Be exempt from routine testing requirements unless you show symptoms of COVID-19 or that organization requires screening tests regardless of vaccination status.

Businesses and other institutions can ask to see your vaccine card or other proof of vaccination.

Employers are also required to provide masks for their employees and can implement mask mandates at the office, according to the order.

Any event or business that requires vaccinations to be admitted must offer exceptions for people who cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons. They should be allowed to attend with a mask, the order says.

Under the order, people who are not vaccinated still need to wear a mask when they come in contact with other people or take public transit. 

Masks are NOT needed in the following situations:

  • You're in your home or someone else's home (but it's still recommended to wear a mask if you're unvaccinated and at a small gathering and it's recommended at large gatherings even if you're vaccinated)
  • You're eating, drinking or legally smoking
  • You're exercising outside and at least 6 feet away from others
  • You're swimming at a pool
  • You're in an enclosed office that no one else is allowed to enter
  • Kids 2 years old or younger don't have to wear masks
  • You can't wear a mask because of a medical condition or disability
  • You're giving a speech for TV or an audience, as long as no on is within 6 feet
  • If a deaf or hard of hearing person needs to read the lips of someone who is talking, the mask can be removed
  • If your job prevents you from being able to wear a mask or if wearing a mask during your job would be dangerous for others
  • You're asked to remove your mask for facial recognition purposes
  • Services that require access to your face, like dental care or shaving

The order is in effect until May 20 but the mayor can extend it.

Starting Saturday, D.C. will relax more restrictions, and residents will be able to get a vaccine without an appointment at walk-up sites across the city for the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Also on Saturday, the following COVID-19 changes are in effect for the District:

  • Seated live entertainment venues will reopen, both indoors and outdoors, with a capacity limit of 25% or 500 people -- whichever is less
  • Movie theaters can reopen at 25% capacity
  • Live music will be allowed near outdoor restaurant seating
  • Weddings and special events, business meetings and conventions can operate at 25% capacity or 250 people -- whichever is less
  • Graduations will be allowed, with limits
  • Non-essential retail will operate at 50% capacity indoors and outdoors
  • Libraries, museums and galleries can reopen at 50%, both indoors and outdoors
  • Indoor and outdoor public pools, in addition to indoor recreation centers, can reopen at 50%
  • Outdoor races, such as 5K races, can resume at 50% capacity
  • Outdoor splash pads can reopen at full capacity

RELATED: DC to loosen COVID restrictions beginning May 1. Here's what is changing

RELATED: Starting May 1, DC residents won't need an appointment to get COVID-19 vaccine

RELATED: Gov. Hogan lifts outdoor mask mandate, all outdoor dining restrictions in Maryland

RELATED: Virginia updates state rules about wearing masks outdoors. Here's what is changing

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