BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As Maryland tries to get a handle on rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and infections, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Monday that masks will be mandatory inside state buildings.

Effective Monday, visitors and employees will be required to wear masks or face coverings in all state buildings, along with any space the state leases in public buildings, the governor’s office said.

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“Today we are taking another series of actions to address the current surge of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and we will continue to take every action necessary to help our hospitals and keep people safe,” Hogan said.

The measure comes after several local jurisdictions, including Baltimore and Howard counties, have introduced indoor mask mandates in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Additionally, the state is offering an incentive for employees to get boosted. Employees who have gotten or get the shot will receive two hours of paid leave.

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The state also gave agencies new guidance for quarantine protocols, updating it to align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent recommendations.

Last month, the state established a surge operations center to help hospitals manage bed capacity as they saw admissions rise sharply over the past few weeks.

The state has also pledged $100 million to help shore up hospitals’ and nursing homes’ workforces, and it has expanded its testing operation.

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CBS Baltimore Staff