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WASHINGTON — Marines and civilian employees for the service who lie about their vaccination status so they can remove their masks in public could be punished, the service said in updated coronavirus precaution guidance.

“Service members and civilian employees who misrepresent their vaccination status may be subject to appropriate adverse administrative or punitive actions,” the Marine Corps said in its guidance issued Friday.

It was the first time that the Marines provided guidance on how to enforce adherence to a Pentagon policy issued May 14 that lifted the mask mandate for all fully vaccinated troops and personnel.

The guidance did not specify the kinds of punishments that could be issued if Marine Corps personnel are found not to be complying with the rules.

While vaccinated Marines were allowed to drop their masks nearly two months ago with the Pentagon policy, the service-specific guidance explained how the Marine Corps could ensure compliance.

Marines who are not fully vaccinated must “continuously” wear their mask outside their homes, according to the regulations, and service members who forgo masks “must be prepared to show proof of vaccination status.”

“Commanders have the authority to verify vaccination status of service members,” according to the guidance.

For civilian employees, supervisors must have a “reasonable basis to believe” the unmasked person has not been vaccinated “based on reliable evidence such as firsthand knowledge of voluntary employee statements,” according to the guidance.

U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Curtis A. Rice, sergeant major for 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, receives the COVID-19 vaccination on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 15, 2021.
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Curtis A. Rice, sergeant major for 11th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, receives the COVID-19 vaccination on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 15, 2021. (Quince Bisard/U.S. Marine Corps)
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