On July 22, 2020, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser signed Mayor’s Order 2020-080 pursuant to which she claims she has the right to mandate that masks be worn outdoors. Any violation of this order may result in fines of up to $1,000.00.
Like Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, Mayor Bowser cites to legislation she states authorizes her to unilaterally impose mask requirements without any input from elected representatives. Assuming Northam and Bowser are right then such legislation needs to be changed. The state of emergency laws were enacted to deal with such matters as floods or other calamities. I further object to the assumption of Mayor Bowser and Governor Northam that such orders may be extended indefinitely.
But let’s examine this ridiculous order.
It exempts “persons in the judicial or legislative branches of the District government while those persons are on duty; and shall not apply to any employees of the federal government while they are on duty.” How in the world does Mayor Bowser expect this exemption provision to operate in real life?
The order demands that businesses “exclude or attempt to eject persons who are not wearing masks or who remove their required masks.” This places the owners of privately owned businesses in the unfortunate position of being the equivalent of law enforcement personnel.
The order states that persons “leaving their residences shall wear a mask when they are likely to come into contact with another person, such as being within six feet of another person for more than a fleeting time.” Can anyone tell me what a “fleeting time” is? This order is full of more holes than Swiss cheese.
According to Mayor Bowser you are allowed to appear in public without a mask if you are “engaged in vigorous outdoor exercise.” If you are an elderly person walking down the sidewalk is this activity “vigorous” enough to satisfy Mayor Bowser?
Wearing a mask is not required when a “person is actually eating, drinking, or legally smoking.” I can only presume this means that when you are illegally smoking you must wear a mask. Incidentally, I have no idea why someone thought it was necessary to include the word “actually” here. Also more good news, you aren’t required to wear a mask when you are a “resident or guest in a private home or apartment.” I am glad to know DC residents aren’t required to wear a mask while they are taking a shower.
Mayor Bowser, I hate to tell you this but you forgot to waive DC Code § 22–3312.03 which prohibits wearing masks in public. This order verges on being unenforceable.
We have reached a sad point in our society when Mayors or Governors have presumed to impose such lunacies upon us based upon legislation that is ambiguous at best.