Council Expects to Extend Indoor Mask Mandate at Jan. 4 Meeting

Even though Montgomery County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is 83%, residents should not expect to be removing their facial coverings anytime soon.

When Montgomery County councilmembers meet on Jan. 4, they are expected to introduce an amended board of health regulation that would extend the county’s indoor mask mandate.

In early November, the council agreed to end automatically the mask mandate if 85% of the county’s residents is fully vaccinated.

“Unfortunately, the COVID-19 omicron variant has pushed the County and other areas of the country into an extended period of high COVID-19 transmission,” the council wrote in a news release.

When the virtual meeting begins at 9 a.m., the council will sit as the board of health and discuss the pandemic situation. At 10 a.m., a public hearing will begin.

Acting Health Officer Dr. James Bridgers requested the board of health rescind the automatic end to the mask mandate if enough residents were vaccinated. The council also is expected to remove a requirement to end the mask mandate when the county returns to moderate transmission. It currently is at high transmission.

In the coming months, the council, meeting as the board of health, will convene every two weeks to review the county’s COVID-19 data.

The council also is expected to eliminate a requirement that the county executive’s office provide status updates on the number of county’s employees who are vaccinated.

Anyone who wants to speak via Zoom at the virtual public hearing must sign up by Jan. 3 at 2 p.m. Residents can also submit written, audio or video testimony.

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