ANNAPOLIS, MD. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan announced the end of the coronavirus State of Emergency beginning July 1. All emergency restrictions and mandates of any kind will be lifted including at schools, camps and childcare facilities.
Businesses and workplaces can set their own policies and can still require masks, but there will be no legal mandate from the state.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: Positivity Rate Has Reached Over 3%
In Baltimore City, the mayor announced that it would also end its state of emergency on July 1, aligning with the state. Currently, 56.8 percent of residents aged 18 and over have at least one dose in the city.
This comes as the state surpassed 6.5 million administered doses on Tuesday. More than 72.2 percent of Maryland adults are fully vaccinated and the positivity rate has remained below 1 percent for seven straight days.
“Not a single day has gone by, that I haven’t been inspired by the will, the strength and the resilience of the people of Maryland,” said Hogan. “We’ve been through so much over the past 15 months. But just look at how far we’ve come together to reach this hopeful point.”
“With all of this amazing progress, and thanks in large part to the hard work, sacrifices and the vigilance of the people of Maryland, we have finally reached the light at the end of that long tunnel,” Hogan added.
A 45-day grace period will also begin on July 1 and last through August 15. Certain regulations will continue to be relaxed as the state transitions out of the pandemic.
The grace period will also allow residents to renew expired driver’s licenses and extend the moratorium on evictions related to COVID-19. Health officials will also have that 45-day period to transition from emergency operations.
Although the state of emergency is over, Hogan said not everyone will be safe from COVID-19. Some Marylanders said the lifting of the restrictions is a relief.READ MORE: Pedestrian Struck On Crain Highway
“It’s like a world off of our shoulders that we’re now able to do things that we weren’t able to do before,” said Craig Berger of Annapolis.
At the same time, some people said they are going to remain cautious and that the easing of restrictions is a bit nerve-wracking too.
“It’s kind of scary, honestly, but this whole thing has been scary. We’ll see how things play out,” said Kevin Yeboah of Annapolis.“While the end of the state of emergency is an important step in our recovery from COVID-19, it does not mean that this virus, and the variants, no longer pose any threat. “If you have been vaccinated, you are safe. But those who have not gotten vaccinated will continue to be at risk.”
Hogan said there’s no excuse not to get a vaccine as they are all readily available.
The Harford County Executive issued a statement saying that he will end its local state of emergency on July 1 in accordance with the Governor’s announcement. A spokesperson for Baltimore County told WJZ that its state of emergency officially expires on July 9 and will not be renewed.
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball issued the following statement about its future plans and said it’s still discussing whether or not to lift the local state of emergency: “Howard County continues to lead the state in our vaccination efforts, with more than 70 percent of our residents 12+ fully vaccinated. We will follow the Governor’s relaxing of the mask mandate, and no longer require masks to be worn in hospitals, on public transit or in schools. However, we fully support the discretion of private businesses and organizations to require masks as they see fit. I encourage our residents, who haven’t already, to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect yourself and your loved ones.”
Read the governor’s order.MORE NEWS: Andrew Beavers, Son Of Cybersecurity Executive Juanita Koilpillai, Arrested For Her Murder