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Maryland Judiciary staff must get vaccinated or submit to weekly COVID testing

The chief judge for Maryland’s courts is requiring Judiciary staff get vaccinated by late September or submit to weekly COVID-19 tests.

Maryland’s Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued the administrative order Friday. Staff who work for the Maryland Judiciary must prove they’ve been vaccinated against the coronavirus by Sept. 27 or be tested weekly for COVID-19, the order states.

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The order comes as contagious variants of the coronavirus have contributed to an uptick in cases across the country. Maryland reported more than 1,000 COVID cases Saturday.

“These are necessary measures to safeguard judges, employees, and court visitors from the spread of the COVID-19 virus and more contagious Delta variant to the greatest extent possible,” Barbera said in a statement, adding that more than half of all Judiciary staff have already been vaccinated.

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The order comes a week after the chief judge for Maryland’s federal courts issued a similar order, mandating that employees get vaccinated while giving them a brief time-period to comply.

However, the orders differ slightly as U.S. District Court Judge James K. Bredar required those who did not get the vaccine to seek an exemption for either medical or religious reasons. Those deemed exempt would also be submitted to weekly testing.

Barbera’s order does not specify exemption requirements, only stating that anyone who has not been vaccinated by Sept. 27 “regardless of the reason for their unvaccinated status, will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 test result on a weekly basis in order to enter a Judiciary facility.”

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