Five Massachusetts state representatives remain banned from working inside the State House as they have refused to submit proof of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and have not sought any exemptions.
“The good news is that over this past weekend we had two additional reps come forward and get vaccinated so we’re down to five,” State Speaker of the House Ronald Mariano (D) said on Monday, per The Boston Herald.
The House has 159 members total, 149 of whom submitted proof of vaccination and five others either applied for medical or religious exemptions or are in the process of receiving their second shot, the Herald reported.
Because of “confidentiality concerns,” Mariano did not name which lawmakers would be working from home until they were in compliance with the House’s vaccination policies, the Herald added.
Ninety-eight percent of House employees were in compliance with the mandate. Eighteen of the House’s 489 employees either requested an exemption or are in the process of getting their second dose, according to the newspaper.
The deadline to request an exemption was last Monday, and the human resources department was still sifting through those requests. Meanwhile, the state Senate had complete compliance with its vaccine mandate for both staffers and members, per the Herald.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced in August that state employees would be required to get vaccinated.
Baker has said a “few hundred” state employees faced consequences as a result of vaccine mandate violations.
“The most important thing, from our point of view, is that somewhere around 12,000 people who weren’t vaccinated when this process began are vaccinated now. And 39,000 plus are either fully vaccinated or received a qualified exemption,” the governor previously said.
In Massachusetts, 70 percent of people are vaccinated, one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, according to The New York Times.
The Hill has reached out to Mariano for comment.