DC Mayor Bowser ‘very concerned’ about potential COVID-19 spike after massive protests

Police work to keep demonstrators back during a protest on May 31, 2020 in Washington, DC. Across the country, protests were set off by the recent death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota while in police custody, the most recent in a series of

Mayor Muriel Bowser said the city is "very concerned" about the potential for a COVID-19 spike after several days of large demonstrations and protests across the nation's capital in response to the death of George Floyd.

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At a press conference on Monday, Bowser was joined by D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham and D.C. Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt. The mayor said the vast majority of people she saw protesting had on masks, but were not social distancing.

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"In the Chief's world, this is a first amendment demonstration response," Bowser said. "In Dr. Nesbitt's world, this is a mass gathering that we don't want for the prevention of COVID."

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Nesbitt echoed the mayor and said while the city has moved into its phased reopening plans issues and concerns still remain. "Mass gatherings are not something we would support at this time – whether it be a peaceful protest or whether people are conducing activities that would be of concern to our law enforcement -- individuals are still coming together in large numbers," Nesbitt said.


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