But state employees who work in congregate settings will be required produce proof of vaccination, or get tested for COVID.
Annapolis, Md (KM) During a news conference Thursday in Annapolis, Governor Larry Hogan said there will be no new mask mandates for Marylanders at this time. He said the state has been affected by the delta variant of COVID-19, but has fared much better compared to other parts of the country. Hogan credits the number of Marylanders who have received their COVID-19 vaccines.
“Since May, when our mask mandate was lifted, the Maryland Department of Health has strongly recommended that unvaccinated individuals wear a face covering in indoor settings and situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained. And this continues to be the strong recommendation,” Hogan said.
But there will be a requirement for state employees who work in congregate settings operated by the Departments of Health, Juvenile Services Public Safety and Correctional; Services, and Veterans Affairs. “The state employees who work in these congregate settings will be required to show proof of vaccination,” says Governor Hogan. “If they are unable to do so, they will be required to adhere to strict face covering requirements. and will be required to submit to regular, ongoing COVID testing.”
The facilities covered include 11 state health care facilities, 12 DJS facilities, six detention centers and 18 correctional facilities and the Charlotte Hall Veterans Home. “Anyone attempting to provide false proof of vaccinations will be subject to disciplinary action,” the Governor says.
This policy will take affect September 1st, giving employees enough time to get their vaccinations.
“We are also strongly urging the private operators of the state’s 227 nursing homes to institute similar vaccination requirements for their employees just as the major state hospital systems have already done,” he says.
In remarks directed at those Marylanders who refuse to get vaccinated, Governor Hogan said they are “willfully and unnecessarily” putting themselves and others at risk of hospitalization and death. “You are the ones threatening the freedoms of all of the rest of us, the freedom not to wear masks, to keep our businesses open, and to get our kids back in school,” he said. “And tragically, it may only be a matter of time before you do get COVID-19.”
He strongly urged these individuals to “just get the damn vaccine.”
The vaccine is available from most primary care providers and pharmacies around the state. To get more information, go to covidvax.maryland.gov or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829)
By Kevin McManus