The District, which just last week lifted its indoor mask mandate, has now issued a mask advisory amid the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.
Dr. LaQuandra S. Nesbitt, the city’s health director, said Thursday the advisory is in concert with the recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that communities with substantial or high transmission have mask advisories, WTOP reported.
The city is currently classified by the CDC as an area of substantial transmission (50 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people), WTOP reported.
Though D.C. hasn’t reinstated the citywide mandate that was lifted by Mayor Muriel Bowser on Nov. 22, masks are still required on public transportation and inside hospitals, schools, congregate facilities and government buildings. Private businesses also can set their own policies on whether customers and staff have to wear them.
The omicron variant, first detected in South Africa late last month, hasn’t yet been determined to be any more virulent or contagious than other strains of the virus, though its high number of mutations and possible ability to evade vaccines has concerned health officials worldwide.
The first case of the variant in the U.S. was reported Wednesday in California, with nine other cases since found in New York, Colorado, Minnesota and Hawaii.