Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Wednesday that the state would be lifting its outdoor mask mandate, effective immediately.
The action is in line with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Hogan said. He added that public health experts recommend that those who are not vaccinated continue to wear masks.
Face coverings will still be required for Marylanders at all large ticketed venues, inside public and private businesses and when using public transportation.
The state will also lift all restrictions on outdoor dining — including restrictions on capacity and physical distancing — beginning Saturday.
“As we have stressed from the very beginning, outdoor activity is much safer than inside activity,” Hogan said. “As the weather gets warmer, we’re encouraging Marylanders to move as much of their activity as possible to outdoors.”
Hogan added the state expects to take additional actions in the weeks ahead.
“The fastest way to put this pandemic behind us, once and for all, is for every single eligible Marylander to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he said.
The state has vaccinated nearly 85 percent of all Marylanders over 65 and more than 60 percent of Marylanders 18 and older, Hogan said.
Plus, Maryland’s COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people has dropped 33 percent over the past two weeks. Hospitalizations are also down 44 percent from its peak in the winter.
“Each day now brings us closer to the light at the end of this very long tunnel,” Hogan said.