ANNAPOLIS — Effective Saturday, COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted for indoor and outdoor venues including entertainment, art, sports, conventions, and dining, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday.
The only restriction that will remain in place is the indoor mask requirement, which can be lifted as soon as the state reaches the federal goal of 70% of adults having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
The reduced constraints follow the state’s pace of COVID-19 vaccinations and subsequent declines in key health metrics.
On Wednesday, the state had vaccinated more than 65% of its adult residents.
“Here in Maryland, our plan is to get everything back to normal by Memorial Day,” Hogan said.
“With nearly two-thirds of all adults in our state vaccinated, there is simply no excuse for putting off your vaccination any longer,” he said. “Getting a vaccine is the right thing to do, not just for your own safety but for the safety of your friends, family, coworkers and neighbors as well. And it’s the only way to get rid of the masks, to put COVID in our rearview mirror, and to allow us to return to our normal lives.”
Additionally, the cruise terminal in Baltimore City will reopen as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works with industry representatives to prepare for a safe return to business.
To accelerate the state’s economic recovery and connect more job seekers with employers, the Maryland Department of Labor will collaborate with federal officials to reinstate work search requirements by late June, Hogan said.
Also on Wednesday, U.S. health advisers endorsed use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in kids as young as 12.
For the past few weeks, the Maryland Health Department has been working on “an aggressive plan” to vaccinate that age group, Hogan said and added eligibility for adolescents will open Thursday.
“Eleven of our state mass vaccination sites as well as hundreds of pharmacy locations will be immediately ready to vaccinate our 12- to 15-year-olds,” he said.
Marylanders can search for providers that will vaccinate adolescents at covidvax.maryland.gov.
Local COVID-19 cases, vaccinations
The Allegany County Health Department on Wednesday reported that 23,387 residents, or 33.2% of the population, have received the first of a two-dose vaccine against COVID-19, and 19,158 of those individuals, or 27.2% of residents, are now fully vaccinated with a second dose.
The number of residents who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is 2,253, which represents 3.2% of the county’s population.
“By comparison, the state reported that 48.3% of all Marylanders had received their first dose of a two-dose vaccine, with 36.8% having had both doses and 3.4% vaccinated with the single-dose vaccine,” ACHD stated in a press release.
As of May 11, the county gained eight new COVID-19 cases.
A walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic will be held at the Allegany County Fairgrounds multipurpose building from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. May 13.
No appointment is necessary, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines will be offered.
Another walk-in clinic, also at the fairgrounds, is slated for 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. May 20.
“Additional clinics will be announced as they are scheduled,” the release stated.