by Kate Shunney
As of last Saturday, Marylanders were told they no longer were required to wear a mask or face covering in public spaces indoors.
Governor Larry Hogan announced the end of the statewide mask mandate on May 14, aligning Maryland with new CDC guidelines about mask use.
The order lifting mask mandates also lifted all capacity limits and restrictions the governor had talked about earlier in the week.
“Today is the day that so many of us have been waiting for and working toward,” said Governor Hogan. “We finally do clearly see the light at the end of that tunnel. Our long, hard-fought battle against the worst global pandemic in more than a century is finally nearing an end. As we reflect on the hard work and the many sacrifices that it has taken to finally reach this point, we say thank you to the countless Marylanders who helped us get here.”
Mirroring CDC guidance, masks or face coverings must still be worn on public transportation, and in schools, childcare and health care settings.
Public health officials at the CDC and elsewhere have advised individuals who are not vaccinated against COVID to use their discretion in choosing whether or not to wear a mask in public places.
CDC guidance has simply said mandatory widespread mask usage is no longer required to keep COVID from spreading out of control.
The highly-contagious respiratory disease continues to spread throughout communities and is still being tracked by public
The Maryland Department of Health has issued a public health advisory strongly recommending that all non-vaccinated individuals over the age of 2 years continue to wear face coverings in all indoor settings and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Private businesses and workplaces can make their own policies about mask wearing, said state officials.
An amended order from the Maryland Secretary of Health, Dennis Schrader, says that face coverings are still in effect indoors at any childcare facility, or indoor youth camp and at medical adult day care centers.
According to state health officials, the state has now reported its second-lowest daily positivity rate on record (1.91%) on Friday and the case rate per 100,000 has dropped by 68% over the last four weeks, and is at its lowest level since July 11, 2020.
COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maryland dropped to 680 late last week and are down 65% from their winter peak.
To date, Maryland has reported 5,449,741 vaccinations, and nearly 66% of Maryland adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
State residents interested in receiving the vaccine can visit covidvax.maryland.gov or call 1-855-MD-GOVAX (1-855-634-6829) to find out where they can receive a vaccination nearby.