**FILE** Prince George's County residents wait in line to vote during the June 2 presidential primary. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Prince George's County residents wait in line to vote during the June 2 presidential primary. (Anthony Tilghman/The Washington Informer)

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and with early voting having started Monday, the state of Maryland has created a program called the Health Ambassadors that is designed to prevent the spread of the virus while people are at the polls.

The ambassadors will be responsible for enforcing anti-COVID-19 measures at polling places such as making sure people wear face coverings and maintaining social distancing, WTTG-TV (Channel 5) reported.

Dr. Clifford Mitchell, director of the Environmental Health Bureau at the Maryland Department of Health, said the ambassadors are members of the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, a group of doctors, nurses, students and other medical professionals who typically respond to major events such as natural disasters, WTTG reported.

“This is the first time it’s been used to my knowledge for voting,” Mitchell said, WTTG reported. “This is part of the effort on the part of the state to ensure that people feel comfortable and can be as protected as possible when they go to vote.”

Mitchell said local election boards must request the services of the ambassadors. He said other states have similar programs, including neighboring Virginia.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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