ANNAPOLIS — Gov. Larry Hogan has lifted Maryland’s outdoor mask mandate pointing to improving COVID metrics statewide and new U.S. Centers for Disease Control and White House guidance on face coverings.
Hogan said Wednesday, April 28, that the state’s outdoor mask order was being lifted effective immediately.
The state order required masks be worn outdoors when social distancing could not be assured.
“Masks and face coverings are no longer required outdoors in the state of Maryland,” Hogan said.
The governor said indoor mask mandates are still in place for workplaces and other indoor public and private venues as well as large, ticketed outdoor events with crowds.
The CDC and Biden administration issued new guidance related to masks saying vaccinated persons can stop wearing masks outdoors as well as in some private settings especially with others who have received shots.
Hogan said the state is still urging those who have not received coronavirus vaccines to take appropriate safety measures.
The governor said the state, however, would not be asking those who are unmasked if they have been vaccinated.
“We can’t check IDs to see if you have been vaccinated or not,” Hogan said referring to vaccination cards.
Local governments can continue to require masks above and beyond the state orders.
Hogan said the guidance from the CDC and Maryland Department of Health is for outdoor mask orders to be eased.
The governor also said the state is lifting COVID-related restrictions on outdoor dining.
Hogan said social distancing rules as well as restrictions on patrons standing outdoors at bars and restaurants were being lifted starting Saturday, May 1. Indoor dining rules — including social distancing — remain in place.
The easing of the state government’s orders related to wearing masks outdoors as well as outdoor dining could be a big help to bars and eateries on the Eastern Shore and popular outdoor venues.
Hogan said Maryland’s COVID metrics, including hospitalizations and transmission have been improving, though the state is still battling vaccine hesitancy and resistance from some.
“Unvaccinated people — including younger people — are continuing to be hospitalized,” Hogan said.