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Governor: Maryland ends statewide mask tenure on Saturday

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) Maryland is ending its statewide mask tenure this weekend, on advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Governor Larry Hogan announced Friday.

The mask’s term will end on Saturday, the Republican governor said at a press conference.

Today is the day that so many of us have been waiting and working for, ”Hogan said. “We finally see this light clearly at the end of the tunnel. Our long, bitter battle against the world’s worst pandemic in nearly a century is finally coming to an end.

As per CDC guidelines, face covers will still be needed on public transportation and in schools, child care centers and health care facilities, Hogan said.

The Maryland Department of Health has issued a public health advisory strongly recommending that all unvaccinated people over 2 years of age continue to wear face masks in all indoor and outdoor environments where physical distance cannot be maintained.

Private companies and workplaces can set their own policies.

The governor made the announcement as the state’s health parameters continued to improve. Hospitalizations from COVID-19 fell below 700 for the first time since November, to 680.

And today we hit 1.91%, our second lowest daily positivity rate on record in the entire pandemic, ”Hogan said.

On Wednesday, Hogan had said the state would lift the indoor mask mandate when 70% of adults in Maryland received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the state was 4.6% away from reaching this goal. But Thursday’s announcement by the CDC that fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks outside in crowds and in most indoor environments prompted Maryland to speed up the schedule.

Our team was careful, ”Hogan said. We had already decided to lift the mask mandate from, you know, we said we were going to do it by Memorial Day weekend, which is just around the corner, and that we would just speed up a bit more. fast now thanks to the actions of the CDC.

Local courts can continue to use their own emergency powers on these matters.

The governor also said Maryland’s state of emergency will remain in place as it helps local businesses like bars and restaurants by allowing them to deliver alcohol.

It also allows us to continue using the National Guard as we continue the vaccination effort, and so it still stays in place, but there are no more restrictions, ”Hogan said.

Earlier this week, the governor announced the lifting of restrictions on indoor and outdoor venues, including restaurants, which will also take effect on Saturday.

All remaining capacity and distance restrictions that were in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be lifted on Saturday during indoor and outdoor dining, the governor added.

Indoor and outdoor venues will be able to resume normal operations, Hogan said. Remaining capacity restrictions will be lifted at indoor entertainment venues and conventions, as well as all outdoor entertainment, art and sport venues, with masking protocols in place.

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