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DC to ban unvaccinated from public spaces

Washington, DC has joined a growing number of cities around the US requiring proof of vaccination in order to enter a litany of public spaces, citing the rapid spread of the Covid-19 Omicron variant.

“Beginning Saturday, January 15, 2022, at 6:00am, certain establishments will be required to verify that patrons ages 12 and older have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine,” Mayor Murial Bowser said in a Wednesday press release, adding that residents will have another month to become fully immunized.

If you missed today’s COVID-19 Situational Update, you can view the entire slide deck here: https://t.co/XWcZKLVSUn pic.twitter.com/nmiqcx7Vej

— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) December 22, 2021

The new mandate is set to impact a long list of business and indoor public spaces, among them restaurants, bars, nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms and fitness centers. Though no clear definition was provided for “event and meeting establishments,” they, too, will be subject to the vaccine requirement. 

The city will allow several different means to prove vaccinations, including an official CDC document, an “immunization record” provided by a health provider, or one of multiple verification apps, such as VaxYes or CLEAR. It remains unclear whether proof of natural immunity conferred from a prior infection will be accepted, as the mayor’s office spoke only of vaccines.

READ MORE: New Yorkers offered holiday booster deal 

Businesses were also provided with an example of the type of sign they should place outside their establishments to inform customers vaccinations are required for entry, however the city did not specify whether the signage itself is part of the new mandate.

The nation’s capital has joined a number of other localities to bring similar vaccine requirements, with Chicago, Boston and New York City also mandating the jab for various groups and certain settings. In contrast to DC’s rule, Chicago has mandated that all residents aged five and older receive the shot, while the Big Apple’s requirements have extended to private schools and those working in childcare.

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