Montgomery Co. Council to review mask policy Tuesday; vaccine passport not coming ‘anytime soon’

Council members in Montgomery County, Maryland, aren’t expected to reconsider a proposal to require proof of vaccination at restaurants, bars and fitness centers “anytime soon,” according to council President Gabe Albornoz.

Albornoz commented during a Monday morning briefing when he was asked about the decision by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to end the District’s proof of vaccination or so-called “vaccination passport” on Tuesday.

The Montgomery County Council held several work sessions on a proposed proof of vaccination plan, but ultimately decided to put the vote “on pause,” said Albornoz, and instead see how D.C.’s version of the regulation worked.

Albornoz said one of the factors that led the council members to wait were the “many concerns and questions raised by colleagues about the efficacy of the effort” of a proof of vaccination requirement, “given our high vaccination rates.”

Now that D.C. is dropping its requirement, Albornoz said that “validated” the Montgomery County Council’s decision to delay a vote.

County’s mask mandate set to expire next week

D.C. is also phasing out its indoor mask mandate starting March 1.

Montgomery County’s indoor mask requirement is set to expire on Feb. 21 unless the county council takes further action.

The county has had a mask mandate in place since late last fall.

The council, sitting as the Board of Health, will meet Tuesday and will discuss the status of the mask mandate and the latest data on the coronavirus. But Albornoz told reporters he doesn’t expect a change.

“It’s appropriate for us to be able to move forward with eliminating the mask mandate after the 21st. Especially if the numbers continue to go down,” he said.

The county’s latest COVID-19 data showed the seven-day case was 98.2 cases per 100,000 residents which is in the “substantial” transmission range, dropping below “high” transmission for the first time since mid-December.

The county’s positivity rate was at 2.9%, placing it at the “low” level of transmission.

Asked if he thinks the mandate should end prior to Feb. 21, Albornoz said waiting for another seven days makes sense “to help ensure that we’re far enough removed from the Omicron variant” he said.


More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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