CommunityWilliam J. Ford

Hogan Lifts Outdoor Mask Mandate, Dining Restrictions

ANNAPOLIS — Wearing masks outdoors is no longer required in Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday he was immediately lifting the statewide mandate, as well as the requirement for wearing masks or face coverings for outdoor dining, which goes into effect Saturday.

Additionally, standing service at bars and restaurants will be permitted outdoors again. However, face coverings are still required indoors for public and private businesses, and social distancing rules remain in effect.

“As we have stressed from the beginning, outdoor activity is much safer than inside activity,” Hogan said during a press briefing on the lawn of the governor’s mansion in Annapolis. “As the weather gets warmer, we’re encouraging Marylanders to move as much of their activity to outdoors.”

Masks also are still required around large crowds such as sports events and concerts or when using public transportation.

Hogan’s announcement comes one day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that those fully vaccinated against the coronavirus can participate in indoor and outdoor activities without a mask. However, unvaccinated people should continue to wear masks when social distancing isn’t possible.

Officials in the state’s 23 counties and Baltimore City can still impose stricter mask guidelines than the state.

A message state, health and local officials all have stated in one accord for residents: get a vaccine.

Vice President Kamala Harris plans to visit M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Thursday. The stadium, home to the Baltimore Ravens, serves as one of the state’s 12 mass vaccination sites.

A 13th mass vaccination site will open Friday at the Mall in Columbia in Howard County.

Residents who still haven’t received either of the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines or the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine can book appointments without pre-registering starting Saturday at one of the state’s mass vaccination sites, either online at coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine or by calling 855-634-6829.

“The fastest way to put this pandemic behind us once and for all is for every single eligible Marylander to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” Hogan said. “We will hit a point where we are no longer constrained by supply.”

William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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