ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland will end a state of emergency for COVID-19 on July 1, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday.
The governor made the announcement at a news conference one year, three months and 10 days after Maryland confirmed its first cases of the coronavirus.
“Masks or face coverings will not be required in any settings anywhere, including schools, camps and child care facilities," Hogan said. "Businesses and other workplaces are obviously still able to set their own policies, and we’ll support their ability to do so, but there will not be any legal mandate from the state for wearing masks at any location anywhere in the state.”
Hogan, a Republican, also said July 1 will be the start of a 45-day grace period through Aug. 15, "where certain regulations will continue to be relaxed to help people complete the transition out of the pandemic.”
The governor said Maryland is granting an additional extension of the state's moratorium on evictions related to COVID-19 through Aug. 15. Health officials will have a 45-day period to transition from emergency operations. Residents will have 45 days to renew expired driver's licenses.
While Hogan said the milestone was a significant step in recovery from the pandemic, he emphasized that “it's not mission accomplished” and that “the battle's not over.”
“If you have been vaccinated, you are safe, but those who have not gotten vaccinated will continue to be at risk," Hogan said.
The governor made the announcement as health metrics continue to improve in the state. In January, hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Maryland nearly reached, 2,000, but on Tuesday they were below 200 — the lowest since March of 2020.
“Every day now, we are seeing amazing declines in all of our health metrics across the board and across the state,” Hogan said.
Maryland has now administered more than 6.5 million vaccines, Hogan said, and the state exceeded its goal of 70% of all adults vaccinated by Memorial Day. More than 72% of residents 18 and over have been vaccinated, Hogan said, as well as nearly 90% of all residents over age of 65.
“We’re already having in our discussions talk about how our existing infrastructure is going to help us with booster shots, if they’re necessary, in the fall, and our flu vaccine effort, which is going to be more critical than ever," Hogan said.
Maryland reported on Tuesday that 9,472 people have died from COVID-19 in the state during the pandemic.