Effective July 1, Maryland will end its COVID-19 state of emergency and lift most coronavirus-related restrictions, including statewide mask requirements, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday. Image courtesy of YouTube.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Tuesday announced that he will end the COVID-19 state of emergency and lift most remaining coronavirus-related restrictions on July 1.

Maryland will no longer require people to wear face masks “in any setting, anywhere,” including schools, camps and childcare facilities starting in July, Hogan said.

“With all of this amazing progress and thanks in large part to the hard work, sacrifices and vigilance of the people of Maryland, we have finally reached the light at the end of that long tunnel,” Hogan said.

Maryland will have a 45-day “grace period” from July 1 through Aug. 15 during which the state will continue certain relaxed regulations.

Marylanders will have until Aug. 15 to renew expired driver’s licenses.

Hogan is also extending the statewide moratorium on evictions related to COVID-19 through Aug. 15.

On March 5, 2020, Hogan declared a state of emergency in response to COVID-19 after state officials confirmed the first three cases of coronavirus in Maryland.

Maryland has confirmed a total of 461,392 cases of COVID-19, and 9,472 Marylanders are confirmed to have died from coronavirus.

But declining trends among Maryland’s coronavirus cases, positivity rate, and other metrics informed Hogan’s decision to end the state of emergency.

As of Tuesday morning, Maryland’s seven-day average positive test rate sits at 0.82%, the lowest the average has been during the pandemic, according to the state’s COVID-19 data dashboard.

State officials on Tuesday newly reported 67 COVID-19 cases, the fourth straight day that Maryland has confirmed fewer than 100 new cases per day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 72.2% of Marylanders age 18 or older have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Maryland has administered a total of 6,528,935 coronavirus vaccine doses, and a total of 3,179,456 Marylanders are fully vaccinated.

Those promising numbers have allowed a return to a sense of normalcy, Hogan said. But he said it is still important for people to get vaccinated if they have not done so.

“While the end of the state of emergency is an important step in our recovery from COVID-19, it does not mean that this virus and the variants no longer pose any threat,” he said.

Hogan said there is “no excuse” for not getting vaccinated.

Marylanders can visit www.marylandvax.org for information about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

While people age 12 and older are able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, the federal government has not yet approved the use of any coronavirus vaccines for children younger than 12 years old.

Maryland is continuing to provide incentives to entice more people to get vaccinated.

This weekend, the state government will hold vaccination clinics at Camden Yards. Everyone who gets vaccinated at those clinics will receive two free lower-level tickets to an Orioles game.

The statewide lottery for vaccinated individuals age 18 and older is also still ongoing. So far, 22 Marylanders have each won a $40,000 cash prize. There are still 18 more $40,000 cash prize drawings through July 3, and the state will award a $400,000 grand prize on July 4.

Hogan said that while this is a “hopeful point” for Maryland, the pandemic is still happening.

“I want to make sure that I stress that it’s not ‘mission accomplished,’” he said. “The battle’s not over. We’re transitioning from the state of emergency to an ongoing operation.”

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Marcus Dieterle

Marcus Dieterle is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. He returned to Baltimore in 2020 after working as the deputy editor of the Cecil Whig newspaper in Elkton, Md. He can be reached at marcus@baltimorefishbowl.com...

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