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Judiciary staff must be vaccinated or tested weekly beginning Sept. 27, Barbera says

Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera issued her order late Friday. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

All Maryland Judiciary personnel, from judges on down, must show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by Sept. 27 or submit weekly test results for the virus beginning on that date, the state’s chief administrative judge ordered late Friday afternoon.

Unvaccinated personnel who fail to submit the required test results may be subject to discipline, including termination, under the order from Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera.

In any event, those who fail to submit results will not be permitted to report to work or to work remotely and will have to use leave without pay, the order stated.

Personnel who test positive for the virus will have to report the result to their supervisor and follow the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding quarantine periods and the Judiciary’s sick-leave policy.

“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 prepared statement. “More than half of Judiciary personnel already have been vaccinated, and I am confident that all personnel understand the importance of maintaining safe workplaces to protect staff and the people we serve.”

Under the order, vaccinated personnel must provide proof of vaccination to their administrative judge or administrative head.

Unvaccinated personnel must submit the results of a COVID-19 test they took within 72 hours of reporting for work and on a weekly basis thereafter, the order stated. The tests are to be taken at the employee’s own cost and on their own time.

Vaccination and test results will be kept confidential under the order.

A growing number of businesses and government agencies have issued some version of a vaccination mandate in recent weeks. In Maryland, Gov. Larry Hogan has ordered workers at nursing homes and hospitals either to be vaccinated or to show evidence of a negative test. Many of Maryland’s largest employers are instituting similar requirements for their employees.

The number of vaccination orders is expected to grow after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Monday announced it had given full approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. Previous vaccine approvals had been made as an emergency authorization.