US government agencies scrap mask mandates

The US Departments of Defense and Justice have since Wednesday lifted mask requirements for about 20,000 of their employees, both military and civilian.

The mask-up mandate was a domestic mandate and will apply to both departments’ facilities in and around the Washington DC area, the nation’s capital, according to the two agencies’ joint announcement Monday.

According to Reuters, “Other agencies are expected to follow suit this week.” Additionally, alongside the halt to the mask mandate, departments will now begin to implement “a gradual increase in on-site presence, over the next two months.”

Agencies appear to have felt it was time to abandon warrants, as transmission rates and current caseloads have dropped significantly in recent years. Right now, more than 70% of the U.S. territory is listed as having “low or “medium” levels of COVID cases.

Congress dropped its indoor mask mandate on Sunday, two days before President Biden’s State of the Union address.

A similar lifting of mask requirements happened Tuesday at the White House. However, the measures only apply to fully vaccinated people and proof of vaccination will still be required in all applicable cases. Employee COVID testing will also continue to take place as before.

Ashley C. Reynolds