Montgomery County leaders pushing for vaccine passport
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - On the heels of D.C.’s decision to require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, events and gyms, Montgomery County leaders are pushing to follow suit.
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"We are going to submit a bill to the county council that looks very similar to what D.C. has done," said Dr. Earl Stoddard, the county’s assistant chief administrative officer.
Stoddard said the legislation is being drafted now. It would require people 12 and older in Montgomery County to prove they’re vaccinated against COVID-19 before eating at a restaurant or going to a bar or theater, and he said there are still conversations underway about whether this would apply to fitness centers.
READ MORE: DC to require proof of vaccination for restaurants, bars, other indoor venues
County Executive Marc Elrich wants to see it happen, but the county council makes the call.
"Council has complete latitude to do what it wishes with the bill," said Stoddard. "It could choose not to do it all, it could modify it and anything could change at that point."
Council President Gabe Albornoz said it’s too early to say if the council will approve the move.
"We need to see what this exactly entails," Albornoz said.
READ MORE: Mask mandate extension, vaccine passport could be in store for Montgomery County
Albornoz said he wants to make sure the business community is part of discussions about the mandate. Stoddard said he plans to meet with Maryland’s restaurant association early next week.
FOX 5 checked with other counties around the DMV, but for now, it doesn’t appear there are additional efforts to put vaccine requirements in place for indoor venues.
A spokesperson for Prince George’s County’s executive said they are not considering it at this time.
The Montgomery County Council will also consider whether to stick with their prior decision to drop the county’s indoor mask mandate when 85 percent in the county are vaccinated.
READ MORE: Montgomery County gives update on when mask mandate could be lifted
As of Tuesday, Stoddard said 82.8 percent are vaccinated. He said he will likely recommend that the council extend the mask mandate at least until the end of January due to rising hospitalizations and surging cases.
A decision is expected at a meeting Jan. 4.
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"The majority of my colleagues are certainly open to extending it," said Albornoz. "But the majority of my colleagues, including myself, are not open to extending it indefinitely."