In response to the rapidly spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus and subsequent surge in COVID-19 cases, Howard County, Maryland, will reinstate its indoor mask mandate on Sunday at 5 p.m.
County Executive Calvin Ball signed an executive order requiring masks to be worn in businesses, buildings, and public transportation on Thursday.
According to county officials, getting a booster shot is an important step in preventing severe disease caused by the virus. According to WTOP, the county reported that 87 percent of its residents are fully vaccinated, and 95 percent have received at least one dose.
“With the rapidly multiplying number of COVID-19 cases due to the omicron and delta variants, positivity rates in double digits and increases in hospitalizations, this is a necessary step to further protect our residents,” Ball said in a statement announcing the order, WTOP reported. “Being vaccinated, getting a booster and wearing a mask are the three best ways to protect yourself and those around you.”