Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that the COVID-19 state of emergency will be lifted July 1 — more than a year after the pandemic gripped the state and the rest of the country.
“Getting our state vaccinated was the only way to get us back to that sense of normalcy,” he said at a press conference in Annapolis. “It is truly a time for celebration, but I ask you to take a moment for those 9,472 lives that we lost and give thanks for the health care heroes that saved so many other lives.”
One driving factor behind the lifting of the emergency order is that roughly 72% of Maryland’s adult population has now received at least dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Additionally, the state’s positivity rate at 0.82% and only 194 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19.
“If you have been vaccinated, you are safe,” Hogan said. “Those who have not gotten vaccinated, will continue to be at risk. At this point, there is simply no excuse to not getting vaccinated. Vaccines are safe, they’re effective and they’re readily available.”
When the emergency is lifted July 1, a 45-day grace period will go into effect for some regulations. For instance, a moratorium on evictions related to the pandemic and drivers’ license renewals will not expire until Aug. 15.
With the emergency order lifted, no one will be authorized to wear a mask at schools and child care locations. However, Hogan said business owners can still require a mask at their establishments.
The state’s “GoVAX” tour will continue this weekend in a push to vaccinate people who reside and work in Maryland.
The state will partner with the Baltimore Orioles and Major League Baseball to incentivize residents to come to Camden Yards in Baltimore and receive a vaccine. The prize: two free lower-level tickets to a future Orioles game.
In the ongoing 40-day vaccine lottery, 22 vaccinated residents so far have each won the daily $40,000 prize. The lottery ends July 4 with a drawing for a $400,000 grand prize.
Jinlene Chan, Maryland’s deputy health secretary for public services, said about 65 people remain in intensive care units and “the people who are getting sick and certainly the sickest are those primarily who remain unvaccinated.”
Locally, the Prince George’s County Public Schools system on Tuesday will hold its final day for parents to bring their children 12 and older to receive a vaccine.
A clinic at Friendly High School in Fort Washington is open from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/35lrGYp.