D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser reinstated the mask mandate in indoor spaces and announced schools will be closed the first two days post Winter Break in order to pick up home rapid tests. (Courtesy Photo)

By Micha Green
AFRO D.C. and Digital Editor
mgreen@afro.com

While the holiday season tune may sing it’s the most wonderful time of the year, the D.M.V. is seeing a COVID-19 surge that has many people quarantined and concerned about gathering this December 2021.  With Omicron variant rampant and coronavirus rates rising in the District, Mayor Muriel Bowser and her Administration are beginning to make changes for the safety of District residents including reinstating the mask mandate indoors and amending the public school reopening day post Winter Break.

“Effective today, masks are required in indoor public settings in the District of Columbia,” D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser tweeted on Dec. 21.  The mandate is effective through Jan. 31a at 6 a.m., according to the announcement.

As of press time, the District’s data chart had not been updated since Dec. 16 due to technical difficulties.  However, numbers are certainly escalating from official reports to word of mouth.

“We are addressing what our nation is experiencing in relation to COVID-19 and the Omicron variant,” Bowser said at a press conference on Dec. 20.

“So many people have COVID in the DMV.  Be safe y’all,” one person tweeted.

There were some social media users happy with the Mayor’s decision to reinstate the mask mandate.

“Good move,” one Twitter user wrote in reply to the Mayor’s announcement.

“Prudent. Thank you. Wish more mayors were as proactive and cautious,” another social media user replied to Bowser’s mask mandate announcement.

Others are not very optimistic that the mandate will be lifted at the end of January with such a rise in cases.

“Might as well extend to Jan 31, 2032,” one person jokingly tweeted.

There were other users who are annoyed by mask mandates as it relates to those who refuse vaccination.

“I’m tired of protecting the unvaccinated at this point. Let them get sick. It’s their problem,” one person tweeted.

Then there were also those who were disgusted with the overall idea of the mask mandate.

“PLEASE END THE MASK MANDATE! I don’t want to wear these masks anymore,” one social media user wrote with three, sad, crying emojis.

Bowser also announced on Dec. 20 that District of Columbia schools will be closed for instruction after the holiday break, Monday, Jan. 3 and Tuesday, Jan. 4 so staff and families can pick up rapid antigen tests before returning to in-person learning.

Some parents are outraged that Bowser is waiting until after the break to temporarily close for in-person classes with numbers still on the rise, particularly after neighboring District, Prince George’s County, decided to close for in-person instruction.

“Why not shut down this week to give people at least a snowball’s chance in hell to not ruin their holidays with infection.  Too little too late.  Or give students a virtual option days.  This to be common sense,” one person tweeted,” do we not have any?

One parent’s concerns evolved as he expressed his concerns on Twitter.

“What about students going to school till ? My school has 35 cases of COVID as of today,” one parent tweeted in reply to the Mayor’s announcement on schools Six hours later he replied to his original tweet.

“Never mind 36,” the father tweeted, “she just positive.”

Despite rising numbers, some are pleased with the Mayor’s decision to keep schools open.

“Thank you for committing to keep schools open. We must use all the tools we have,” one person wrote in reply to the Mayor’s tweet.

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Micha Green

AFRO Washington, D.C. Editor