Five Massachusetts state lawmakers are banned from working inside the State House because they haven’t provided proof of having received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The state representatives have not applied for any exemptions, the deadline for which was Nov. 1.
State Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano, a Democrat, told The Boston Herald on Nov. 8 that he could not reveal which five lawmakers must now work from home due to “confidentiality concerns.”
The number is down from seven last week after two state representatives decided to disclose their vaccination status in compliance with the House’s vaccine mandate, Mariano said. The mandate was approved by lawmakers in September.
Out of 159 state House representatives, 149 have submitted proof of COVID-19 vaccination and five have applied for medical or religious exemptions or are due for their second shot, according to the outlet.
Meanwhile, 98 percent House employees have complied with the vaccine mandate, with 18 of the 489 employees having requested an exemption or are due for their second dose, the Boston Herald reported.
Leaders in the 40-member Massachusetts Senate say all the senators and their staff are in compliance with similar rules it adopted in August in accordance with recommendations from its own reopening working group.
The vaccination mandate is part of a plan to reopen the State House as part of a larger four-phase reopening plan to gradually open the area to members, staff, lobbyists, and general members of the public. It has yet to announce a full reopening day.
“Vaccines work,” Mariano said in a Twitter post late September. “They are the most effective way to reduce transmission and prevent severe illness and death. As public servants, we should be leading by example—and getting as many people as possible vaccinated. Requiring vaccinations for everyone in the House is a necessary first step toward reopening.”