DC mayor provokes outrage posing maskless for Dave Chappelle photo hours before indoor mask mandate takes effect
Muriel Bowser is the latest politician to be labeled a hypocrite, after critics saw red over a maskless photo of the Washington DC mayor with comedian Dave Chappelle, taken shortly before her mandate came into operation.
The photo, taken at the reopening of DC entertainment venue The Anthem, features Bowser, Chappelle, district deputy mayor for planning and economic development John Falcicchio, and two others. None is wearing a mask.
“DCisOpen and #Dave Chappelle reopened #The AnthemDC on Friday night!” Falcicchio captioned the photo on Twitter.
Masking had already been required at the venue “at all times,” but Falcicchio did not say whether the photo had been taken on the grounds of The Anthem, or elsewhere. Bowser had announced on Thursday that every person over the age of two must wear a mask indoors in a public setting, regardless of their vaccination status.
The mandate came into effect on Saturday morning, meaning the photo was taken just hours before the new guidance kicked in.
Another photo posted to Instagram – since deleted, but saved in screenshots – also showed what appeared to be a massive and equally maskless celebration of Bowser’s upcoming birthday, taken later the same night.
DC is the latest city to reinstate a mask mandate in response to slowing vaccination rates and a spike in cases.
“We will continue to do what is necessary to keep DC safe,” Bowser said when announcing the mandate.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently reversed its guidance on masking. Only weeks after announcing that vaccinated individuals no longer needed to observe pandemic-era precautions, it said indoor masking was still necessary in areas where cases were going up – a trend health experts have attributed to the Delta variant.
Critics have argued that masks provide little protection compared to vaccination, however, and that the reinstatement of a mask mandate could lead to further lockdowns, which would be economically detrimental to businesses that have struggled through the pandemic.Also on rt.com Washington DC mayor announces new mask mandate for everyone OVER 2 years old
Politicians such as Bowser have come under fire for sending the opposite message via their private actions to the one they preach publicly.
The mayor’s Anthem-evening photo was ripped into by critics, many of whom used it as proof that her new mandate was “not about public health.”
“Mayor Bowser made the mask mandate Saturday so she and the deputy mayor could get this maskless picture with Dave Chappelle last night,” Fox News’ Cameron Cawthorne tweeted.
“Perhaps an answer to the question of why the DC mask mandate only went back into effect this morning,” concurred the Washington Examiner’s Jerry Dunleavy.
Here's the clown Mayor of DC not obeying her own mask orders tonight after she just made them yesterday.Stop listening to her. pic.twitter.com/vSHSWeJfQK— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) July 31, 2021
In November, @MurielBowser broke her travel restrictions to party with Biden in Delaware.Now, she’s reimposing citywide mask mandates despite no significant rise in deaths, but not before she celebrates her birthday with a DJ & Dave Chapelle. This isn’t about public health. https://t.co/flfLDZzA86— Natalie Johnson (@nataliejohnsonn) July 31, 2021
I guess we now know why Bowser waited until Saturday to implement her mask mandate pic.twitter.com/d9JiTFMYkD— Greg Price (@greg_price11) July 31, 2021
Current DC Covid-19 regulations say that fully vaccinated people “may visit with a small group of [other] fully vaccinated people in an indoor setting without the need to wear a mask or social distance.” However, if it is “difficult” to know the vaccination status of all people taking part in such a gathering, fully vaccinated people are required to wear a mask and social-distance like their unvaccinated peers.
Bowser hasn’t directly commented on the photos, but did celebrate Chappelle’s show on Friday as part of the city’s reopening after a year of lockdowns.
“Washingtonians have waited months to be able to enjoy shows like this one again, and it makes it even sweeter to be able to reopen one of our favorite venues with a performance from one of the world’s most beloved comedians and a DC native, Dave Chappelle,” she wrote in a statement.
Bowser posted public messages the same day urging DC residents to mask up yet again.
Let’s stay in this together, DC. By masking up, we can protect our community and keep DC open. Read the latest mask guidance: https://t.co/PsVCaHcKad— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) July 30, 2021
The mayor was accused of breaking her city’s Covid-19 restrictions in November, when she traveled to Joe Biden’s presidential victory speech in Delaware – a trip her office described as “essential travel.”
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