What to Know About DC’s Indoor Vaccine Requirement

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E.O'Gorek/CCN

What do you put in your pockets every time you leave the house? Wallet? Hand sanitizer? Mask?

Starting this weekend, District residents leaving the house should have one more thing with them. On Saturday, Jan 15, certain indoor places will require proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for entry. That requirement goes up to two as of Feb. 15.

Patrons aged 12 and over will have to provide proof they have received the vaccine; those 18 and older will also have to show photo identification. Proofs include CDC vaccine cards, or photographs of the cards; emails from health care providers; applications, such as VaxYes or MyiRDC –anything that is verifiable, said the Mayor’s office. Identification can be anything issued by federal or state government, like passport or driver’s licenses, or the DC One Card. Also acceptable are military and student id.

A CDC card, a photo, an email from a healthcare provider or verification apps will all be accepted proof of vaccination when DC’s indoor mandate goes into effect Saturday, Jan. 15.

Proof is required before entering any place people go to gather in groups. These include restaurants and taverns; theaters and sporting venues; gyms and group class spaces; conference facilities (including rooms at the DC Public Library, for instance) as well as bowling alleys, which are specifically noted in the Mayor’s Order.

Indoor spaces not subject to the mandate include grocery and big box stores, medical spaces such as pharmacies, hospitals or doctor’s offices; courts or spaces for government licensing, regulation or hearings; or houses of worship, unless rented for a non-religious purpose.

It also doesn’t apply to people coming into a space “for a quick and limited purpose,” like picking up takeout or using restrooms.

Vaccination coverage by age group as of Jan. 3, 2022. 42 percent of residents aged 18-24 and 52 percent of those aged 25-39 are vaccinated versus rates higher than 63 percent in every group older than 40. Click to go to graph on website: coronavirus.dc.gov

The goal of the mandate is explicitly stated in the Mayor’s order: to reduce case rates as well as the strain on hospitals, but also to motivate people to get vaccinated.  According to the Mayor’s office, 80 percent of recent cases are in people under the age of 44, those who tend to frequent restaurants, bars and sporting venues; vaccination rates are also lower in groups under 40 than elder peer groups.

To get the full VaxDC details, visit https://coronavirus.dc.gov/vaxdc.  Read the mayor’s order here.