February 11, 2022

On Jan. 15, D.C. passed a law that requires proof of vaccination to enter certain businesses. And ahead of this change, Bowser tweeted on Jan. 11 that residents would need to have proof of vaccination “before heading out.” But before heading out where? 

If you live in Washington, D.C., do you need a vaccination card to leave their home? This tweet from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, which states that you’ll need proof of vaccination “before heading out,” sparked some confusion online surrounding the district’s COVID-19 vaccine policy. 

The tweet got a lot of attention, and was even retweeted by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who criticized the measure, writing: “Liberal logic: you need a photo ID to buy milk but not to vote.” But do you really need a vaccine card to leave your house? Including to buy milk? Here’s how we fact-checked it.

Check out primary sources

That’s a good question — and one that a lot of people had online after reading this. Fortunately, Bowser linked to D.C.’s official vaccine policy in her tweet. When you’re debunking claims, you want to look for good, primary sources like this one. And if you’re not sure if what you’re looking at is an official government page, check out the address bar. As long as you see the .gov domain name, then you know the website is official.

And a quick sidebar: If you see a tweet or post that’s super surprising and includes a link to a source or an article, take the extra time to read it before you reshare. Heading directly to the source included in the tweet answered most of my questions. 

Read the report for yourself

According to the vaccine policy, indoor places like restaurants, clubs, bars, gyms, pools, movie theaters, and other so-called non-essential businesses must require vaccination cards as of Jan. 15. Further down the page, there’s a list of all the places that you could go that DON’T require proof of vaccination — including grocery stores, farmers markets, places of worship, hotels, health care facilities, government offices; places that are considered essential. 

Check multiple sources

It never hurts to see what some other sources are reporting. Plugging in the keywords “Washington D.C. vaccination requirement fact check” brought up this article from CNN. They reported that no, you don’t need proof of vaccination to leave your house … or to buy milk. 


While you don’t need a vaccination card just to leave your home, as some suspected after reading the mayor’s tweet, people in D.C. will need to have proof of vaccination on hand to do most things. However, the phrase “before heading out” is a little too vague, especially about something related to vaccine requirement. We rate Mayor Muriel Bowser’s tweet as Needs Context. 

As far as Sen. Blackburn’s tweet goes, unless you’re trying to buy your milk from Planet Fitness, you won’t need to show proof of vaccination to make that purchase. We rate her tweet Not Legit.

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