Absence of Votes Kills Attempt to Restore DC Vaccine Requirement

Vaccine prerequisites for indoor business patrons will not be reinstated in Washington, D.C. after a city legislator suddenly withdrew her urgent proposal to reinstitute the mandate just days after it was repealed.

Councilwoman Brianne Nadeau declared Thursday night she would no longer bring up the measure before the city council, citing the fact she did not really have a route to the necessary ballots for its amendment. 

Nine Votes Needed

Nadeau initiated the emergency measure on the same day the vaccine requirement was lifted, claiming it was needed to safeguard industry workers during the pandemic.

Nevertheless, it failed to gain traction among other members of the council prior to its planned vote on Friday morning.

The measure would have required nine votes to pass the council and would have needed the mayor’s confirmation before it could take effect.

It is uncertain whether Mayor Muriel Bowser would’ve signed or rejected the proposal if it passed. The mayor’s office did not reply to requests for a statement.

The emergency measure, if allowed to pass, would have overturned Bowser’s stance earlier this week, demanding residents over the age of 12 give show evidence of vaccination before accessing eateries, entertainment facilities, and other leisure institutions.

Bowser declared the district-wide vaccine requirement would expire one month later, on Tuesday.

The mayor dismissed the notion that pulling back the mandate was hasty, claiming the city is in a “much better place” than it was during the peak of the omicron variant spike.

Support for the Mandate by the Majority

At a press conference on Monday, Bowser said, “we have to be quick if something changes, as it did in December with a new, extremely infectious variant.”

“I don’t think any of us here can say there won’t be other variations that force us to do something different.” 

Per a survey released by the Washington Post on Tuesday, a large percentage of district residents support the vaccine mandates. 

According to a citywide survey, three out of every four residents endorsed the need to show proof of vaccination before accessing a business. Sixty-three percent thought the level of constraints was “just right.”

According to a poll analysis conducted by the newspaper, the vaccine mandate in Washington DC was supported by 86 percent of white residents, 63 percent of black residents, and a majority of people across all age groups and education levels. 

The executive, on the other hand, removed this safeguard at a time when 74% of Washingtonians want the rule to stay in place and when they believe their reasons for wanting to keep the mandate in place are valid.

Nadeau explained she was disappointed, but not discouraged. She will continue to work hard to make the district safer, healthier, and more equitable.