Maryland Gov. Hogan: Outdoor mask mandate has been lifted

Larry Hogan says GOP must move on after Trump-era losses; slams Maryland Dems for gerrymandering, big spending

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan discussed the future of the Republican Party and his battles with Democrats in Maryland in an interview with Fox News Digital.

Amid significant improvements in health metrics, Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that Maryland is lifting its outdoor mask mandate effective immediately in line with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, WTTG, the Fox-owned station in Washington D.C. reported.

According to Hogan, Maryland’s case rate of COVID-19 per 100,000 people has dropped 33% over the past two weeks. 

The two-term Republican governor also strongly urged reluctant residents to get vaccinated.

“If you’re an individual who does not intend to get vaccinated, we want to make sure that you understand that you are still in danger of hospitalization and death,” Hogan said. “Unvaccinated people, including younger people, are continuing to be hospitalized.”

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Face coverings will still be required for all Maryland residents at all large ticketed venues. They also are required indoors at all public and private businesses across the state and for riders of public transportation.

People who are not yet vaccinated are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks outdoors, especially when physical distancing is not possible.

Starting Saturday in the state, all restrictions related to outdoor dining capacity and distancing will be lifted. Seated service and physical distancing requirements will remain in place indoors at bars and restaurants.

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The governor said more than 4.5 million vaccines have been administered in Maryland. Nearly 85% of Maryland residents over 65 have been vaccinated, and more than 60% of people 18 and over have been vaccinated.

“As our vaccinations continue to expand and our health metrics continue to improve, we expect to be able to take additional actions in the weeks ahead and to a return to a sense of normalcy,” Hogan said.

As for the state’s vaccine supply and demand, the governor said that “right now the demand is sort of matching the supply,” but very soon the state will get to the point where the focus will be on “more pulling in, rather than just pushing it out.”

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The state has 12 mass vaccination sites and a 13th will open Friday in Howard County. To make it easier to get a shot, starting Saturday the state is moving to direct scheduling for mass vaccination sites.

“So beginning Saturday, all eligible Marylanders will be able to go online and immediately book an appointment,” Hogan said.

At the close of business on Thursday, preregistration will no longer be required. Everyone who already has preregistered will be contacted for an appointment by the end of the day Friday.

Marylanders can register for vaccinations by visiting covidvax.maryland.gov or by calling 1-855-634-6829.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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