DC Mayor Lifts COVID Restrictions as of May 21, Changes Mask Guidance
By Order dated May 17, 2021, the Mayor of the District of Columbia eliminated almost all COVID-19 related restrictions, effective as of 5:00am on May 21st. The Order also eliminates the DC mask mandate and introduces mask guidance that matches with recent CDC guidance that removes mask recommendations for vaccinated persons.
The Order also extends the public health emergency to the extent permitted by DC law, which will now be July 25 following legislation adopted by the DC Council. The complete text of Mayor’s Order 2021-069 regarding the lifting of most restrictions, and modification of others is located here.
Facility Operation. As of 5:00am on May 21st, the Mayor’s Order allows association gyms, club rooms, pools, playgrounds and other facilities to open without any restrictions on occupancy or required operational protocols. However, associations remain free to follow applicable CDC Guidelines.
In addition, to the extent that an association wishes to continue certain rules or operational protocols regarding the use of its facilities, it is likely within the authority of the board of directors to do so, if the board adopts and enforces them as part of the association’s rules and regulations. Prior to taking steps to eliminate or continue those protocols, we recommend the board of directors consult with the association’s legal counsel.
In addition, while the restrictions put in place by the Mayor have been lifted, temporary legislation adopted by the DC Council still requires that (during a declared public health emergency) condominium associations, homeowners associations, and cooperatives “clean common areas… on a regular basis, including surfaces that are regularly touched, such as doors, railings, seating, and the exterior of mailboxes.”
Masking. The DC mask mandate has been eliminated, with new guidance issued to match with CDC Guidance. Additional information on the specifics of the updated mask guidelines can be found here.
In short, individuals are no longer required to wear masks; however, it is recommended (per the guidance) that any person who is unvaccinated or partially vaccinated wear a mask. Thus, the requirement that all residents wear masks in the common areas of condominiums and cooperatives, has been lifted. While the requirement to wear masks has been rescinded, associations may wish to post signage stating that unvaccinated/partially vaccinated persons should wear a mask in indoor/outdoor common areas in accordance with the City’s guidance (including gyms/pools) and to social-distance. To the extent that an association wishes to adopt (or continue) a continued mask mandate, it should consult with legal counsel.
Please note that while the CDC guidance suggests that unvaccinated individuals should wear masks, we are not suggesting that associations attempt to confirm whether persons have been vaccinated as a means of enforcing rules or determining allowable access to facilities.
The public health emergency has been extended through July 25, 2021, and due to the funding implications of a declared emergency it may be extended beyond that date.
Federal, state and local responses to COVID-19 are changing quickly. We encourage associations to monitor relevant government websites and this page for further updates.
Legal Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific facts and circumstances of each case and each association’s governing documents. Also, it is not intended to be a full and exhaustive explanation of all legal considerations, nor should it be used to replace the individualized advice of your legal counsel.