Hours after requiring masks inside all county government buildings starting Friday, Prince George’s County, Maryland, has reinstituted an indoor public mask mandate that will go into effect Sunday.
County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said Thursday that masks will be required inside all county government buildings starting at 5 p.m. Friday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
“The new delta variant is particularly concerning, and we are taking additional precautions in county government to keep our employees safe at work,” Alsobrooks said in a statement.
Later, the county said that the indoor public mask mandate will go into effect on Sunday at 5 p.m. These apply to vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
“After consulting with health officials who are monitoring our COVID-19 metrics daily, we have been advised that we are now at a point where we must reinstitute an indoor public mask mandate to keep Prince Georgians safe,” Alsobrooks said in a statement.
When the indoor public mask mandate goes into effect, anyone over the age of 5 will need to wear masks in all indoor public venues and businesses in Prince George’s County, even if they are fully vaccinated.
This includes, but is not limited to, inside restaurants, retail stores, entertainment venues, conference centers and office settings. Like previous mask mandates, there are some exceptions, such as when actively eating or drinking or if someone has a disability that prevents the wearing of a mask.
“The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by getting vaccinated, so we continue to encourage everyone who has not gotten vaccinated to do so as soon as possible,” Alsobrooks said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s data tracker, the level of community transmission in Prince George’s is “substantial.” The county has had 71 cases per 100,000 as of Thursday. That’s based on the past seven days.
The CDC’s four levels of community transmission range from low to high. Substantial is the second-highest tier. To reach substantial, a county must have at least 50 cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days. A rate of at least 100 cases per 100,000 people would be considered “high.”
Prince George’s County’s positivity rate is 4.6% as of Aug. 1, up from 0.9% on July 5. The average daily case rate has increased to 11 cases per 100,000 residents as of Aug. 1, the highest rate observed since May 5. Finally, the county’s infection rate is 1.33 as of July 28, which places it in the “high risk” range, the county said in a news release.
New policies and a timeline are currently being drafted in Prince George’s County. They will require employees returning to the office to get vaccinated or regularly tested for coronavirus.
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WTOP’s Abigail Constantino contributed to this report.