Baltimore Sun: Baltimore City plans to lift mask mandate when 65% of adult residents have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine

By Christine Condon
May 17, 2021

Baltimore City residents and visitors will be wearing masks indoors and at outdoor events for a bit longer as Mayor Brandon Scott announced May 17 that the requirements will remain in place until at least 65% of adults are partially vaccinated.

So far, 52% of city residents 18 and over meet that description, a spokesman for the city health department said. And 42% are fully vaccinated.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan lifted the statewide mandate last week — when 65.6% of Maryland adults had received at least one shot — after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised that vaccinated individuals could forego masks indoors and out. Most Maryland officials signaled they’d follow suit.

But Baltimore City has taken a more cautious approach throughout the pandemic, often maintaining restrictions locally while the governor relaxed them for the state. The city, however, has aligned itself with the governor’s decision to eliminate capacity restrictions at all venues.

“The CDC’s announcement regarding vaccines comes at a time where robust methods to confirm whether individuals are vaccinated do not yet exist,” the city health commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said May 17.

Some public health officials have said the CDC moved too rapidly in stating that vaccinated individuals could go without masks.

“If there is no reliable way to verify vaccination status, indoor mask mandates must still remain in place,” wrote Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore City health commissioner, in a Washington Post editorial over the weekend.

The city’s business community has at times been vocal about the fluid patchwork of COVID-19 restrictions around the state.

In a statement May 17, the Greater Baltimore Committee, which represents more than 500 businesses, nonprofits, foundations and leading educational and civic institutions, said it is encouraging all residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible so that city businesses can be “on equal footing with businesses and employers in other jurisdictions.”

Read the complete story here.

Source: The Baltimore Sun