Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan lifted the state's outdoor mask mandate on Wednesday, saying "consistent improvements" in the state's health metrics allowed it to take steps to "continue our health and economic recovery."
"Masks and face coverings are no longer required outdoors in the state of Maryland," Hogan said.
Face masks will still be required at large, ticketed venues and indoors. Hogan cautioned that people not vaccinated were at risk of hospitalization and death and that they should continue to be careful, wear masks where they cannot socially distance and get vaccinated as soon as possible.
He said vaccinating every eligible Maryland resident would be the "fastest way to put this pandemic behind us, once and for all."
Starting Saturday, May 1, the governor also said "all restrictions will be lifted for outdoor dining." Outdoors, standing service at bars and restaurants may resume and capacity and social distancing limits will no longer apply.
CDC guidance released Tuesday said that vaccinated people could safely go outside without a mask, and people who had not received a vaccine could as well, in some cases.
"We can't check IDs to check to see if you've been vaccinated or not. It's like, you've had plenty of time to get a vaccine, you can get one anywhere," Hogan said. "Everybody who's been vaccinated can no longer continue to be, you know, held back because of the few who are refusing to."
More than 4.5 million vaccines have been administered in the state, the governor said.
He added that Maryland has vaccinated more than 60% of residents over the age of 18, lowered hospitalizations due to COVID-19 and has the lowest transmission rate in the country.
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