ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — In a new interview with Politico, Gov. Larry Hogan defended lifting many capacity restrictions Friday at 5 p.m. while continuing to make masks mandatory.

“There are certain states that want to keep all of their businesses shut down, and I don’t agree with those decisions. There are other states that say no masks and we should do whatever we want,” Gov. Hogan said. “We tried to find that balanced position that tried to get people back to work and tried to worry about those small business owners and how do we keep them and help them survive…but also how to keep some mitigation steps in place that can keep people safe.”

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The governor reiterated that local jurisdictions can make stricter regulations as they see fit.

“Our state law does grant the local governments the ability to be more restrictive, and many of them have and will continue to do so,” he said.

CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

7,832 Marylanders have died since the pandemic began. Thursday marked the anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring a global pandemic.

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Challenges remain including getting people doses of the vaccine. 10 percent of Marylanders are fully vaccinated and 20 percent are partially vaccinated according to the governor.

 

On the economic front, many have lost jobs. The state reports 13,582 unemployment insurance claims were filed the week ending on March 6. 2021. That increased from the previous week when 12,124 claims were filed.

As for the new stimulus coming from Washington, Hogan says relief is needed but told Politico he likely would not have voted for it because of the lack of bipartisanship.

“If you’re just going to cram things through with every Democratic wish list—with not a single Republican vote, you know, it’s going to be hard to get an agenda through because there are very tight majorities.”

Gov. Hogan said some of the relief was not related to COVID, “There’s probably about a trillion dollars that should be taken out of it.”

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.