- The Washington Times - Friday, April 30, 2021

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott announced Friday that the city will no longer require masks be worn outdoors.

The new rule applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated residents. It comes two days after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, repealed the state’s outdoor mask mandate following updated guidance Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Face coverings are still required at outdoor venues, including sporting events and concerts, indoors at all public and private businesses and while using public transportation, according to both the state’s and city’s new guidelines.

Local jurisdictions in Maryland have the authority to enforce stricter measures than those enforced by the state.

The Democratic mayor also announced that Baltimore colleges and universities can hold in-person commencement and graduation ceremonies this year.

The event must be held at an outdoor venue and will be limited to 25% capacity, masks must be worn, and social distancing rules must be followed. Also, attendees must be tracked for contact tracing purposes. 

Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said officials are urging residents to “be mindful” of how their actions may “unintentionally” spread the virus.

“Although we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter in Baltimore’s response, and increasing our vaccination rate will be the key to lifting further restrictions,” Dr. Dzirasa said in a statement Friday.

Health department data as of Friday show 160,735 of the city’s more than 609,000 residents are fully vaccinated. The city has recorded 50,752 cases of COVID-19 and 915 deaths.

Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, both Democrats, announced this week that residents who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks outdoors when they are alone or at a small gathering.

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