DC gyms want to demand vaccination instead of masks. The city said no. – Reason.com

Last week in Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser reinstated a city-wide mask mandate for all interior spaces, though the city’s recent surge in COVID-19 cases did yet to produce a wave of deaths or hospitalizations – and even though vaccines are proving to be the most remarkably effective tool in preventing serious illness and death.

Masks, unlike the vaccine, are a lifelong irritation, especially in certain circumstances such as conversing, eating, and exercising. On this latest front, a coalition of Washington, DC, gym owners have decided to approach the city with a good deal: They would demand that customers be vaccinated if the city granted them a waiver of the mask mandate.

This agreement was a win-win and should have been obvious to the city. Vaccines are a much more effective and long-lasting anti-coronavirus measure than masks. Getting people vaccinated is the bottom line: no one should want to wear masks forever. If business owners rather require vaccination than masks, so the government should absolutely let them.

So of course the city said no.

“I asked about the Fitness Coalition’s request for a waiver of the mask mandate if they only get vaccinated,” City Council member Christina Henderson, said in a tweet. “DC Health is not granting waivers at this time. I asked what steps we need to follow to rescind the mask’s mandate. They are reluctant to bind themselves to a particular measure.”

One would be forgiven for thinking that the city government likes masks better than vaccines. The city is certainly not doing everything in its power to encourage vaccination, and it doesn’t want to spell out the conditions under which it would even consider lifting the mask mandate.

But requiring masks in all indoor public spaces indefinitely is impractical. Bowser certainly knows that this is impractical, since she doesn’t bother to follow it herself: indeed, she performed a wedding without a mask inside just a few hours after the implementation of the mandate. Given her penchant for hypocrisy on that front, I’m surprised that she didn’t personally turn down the gym owner’s offer while teaching a maskless yoga class.

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