WASHINGTON — D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser wants business owners who are afraid to enforce a coronavirus mask order to call the police for help.
The mayor made the comment during a press conference Wednesday about the District's response to the coronavirus pandemic. D.C. has seen an uptick in cases over the past weeks, prompting Bowser to sign an order requiring visitors from COVID-19 hot-spot states to quarantine for two weeks, and expanding the city's mask mandate.
The new mandate, which went into effect last week, is meant to encourage wearing masks after health officials noticed disturbing trends in community spread and positivity rates in D.C. Bowser previously said the mask mandate would be enforced, but did not offer details on how that would be done.
During Wednesday's news conference, a reporter pressed on the issue of enforcement, noting that large retail stores like Lowe's and Walmart don't plan to enforce the mask order for fear of a potentially violent confrontations between employees and customers.
"Then they should call the police," Bowser said. "They should, absolutely."
The new mandate enforces that residents should be wearing masks when they exit their homes, enter restaurants and business, or are even in an open office space.
D.C. is now averaging 67 new cases of the coronavirus a day – twice what the city was at the beginning of July.