(Courtesy Photo) (Courtesy Photo)

By AFRO Staff

As of Mar.1, 2022, Baltimoreans will no longer have to mask indoors as a safety precaution against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 infection. 

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon M. Scott lifted the City’s indoor masking order, which had been in effect since instituted on August 10, 2021.

The order was be rescinded due to recent data trends from the Maryland Department of Health that show a stark decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations. 

According to information released by the Office of the Mayor, “as of Feb. 22, 77% of all city residents (5 years old and up) have received a first or single dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 67.7% are fully vaccinated.”

Scott was sure to clarify in a press release that the rescinding of the indoor mask mandate did not affect the standing State of Emergency for Baltimore declared on March 19, 2020. And while the mask mandate is being lifted for residents and City workers, officials are still urging masks to protect young children not yet eligible for a vaccine and the immunocompromised population.

“Baltimore’s COVID-19 infection metrics are just a fraction of what they were a few weeks ago. I want to thank everyone: our businesses, our faith-based institutions, and, most of all, our residents for adhering to the recommendations of our local and national health experts,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott, in a statement. “We will continue to monitor our COVID-19 metrics and make informed decisions. The health safety of our residents remains my top priority. In order to continue taking the necessary precautions to protect all city residents, especially those who remain vulnerable to COVID, the State of Emergency will remain in effect.”

Baltimore City Health Department Commissioner Dr. Letita Dzirasa called the removal of the indoor mask mandate “an important milestone in our ongoing efforts to combat this pandemic.”

“With nearly 77 percent  of all eligible residents within our city vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine, we are impacting the spread of COVID and reducing the number of hospitalizations in our community,” said Dzirasa. “Although we are encouraged by the improvement in our COVID19 metrics, this is in no way an indication that the pandemic is over. Rather, we are entering a new phase of the pandemic.”

“It is also not a sign that the public health protocols and measures that we’ve put in place to date are no longer necessary. Masks and vaccines remain important tools in our fight against COVID19,” she added.

Although the indoor mask mandate was lifted on Mar.1 for city employees, public-facing transit workers and passengers must wear masks through March 18, 2022, based on the current Federal TSA mandate. 

According to information released from the Office of the Mayor, “this mandate covers all public transit in Baltimore, including the Charm City Circulator, Harbor Connector, and all MDOT MTA services: Local Bus, Commuter Bus, Metro, Light rail, and MARC services.”

The lifting of the mandate does not apply to health care facilities or school buildings.

Help us Continue to tell OUR Story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members!  Join here!