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By Marnita Coleman
Special to the AFRO

It is starting to feel a bit normal in the city again. As temperatures warm up, the excitement of rebounding is spreading like wildfire. Early morning risers are spotted running, walking, strolling and cycling their way to fitness. Hunkering down is a thing of the past as weekenders head to hiking trails or anywhere they are not required to wear a mask. Mayor Brandon Scott recently emancipated the citizens of Baltimore by lifting the requirement to wear face masks outdoors. However, Scott “strongly encourages” Baltimoreans who are not not vaccinated to continue wearing masks.

As the rate of vaccinated residents increase other restrictions may be lifted signaling a grand start to the unofficial beginning of summer, just weeks away as Memorial Day approaches and families contemplate summer vacation. 

Nevertheless, we are still in the midst of a pandemic. At the time of this writing, there are 1,042 people hospitalized in the state due to COVID, according to Maryland.gov, and only 34% of Marylanders have been vaccinated. Therefore, as much as we would like to think the pandemic has ended, it’s not quite time to throw caution to the wind. 

Monique Levy, a Baltimore resident, told the AFRO that she and husband are considering family time in Puerto Rico. “We won’t change any of our practices due to vaccination,” Levy said. She explained that her family will continue to “wear masks at all times, sanitize and wash hands frequently.” Levy was concerned by a visit to an area attraction where masks were not worn and will remain resolute in her practices.

Whether your family is staying in town or heading out, be aware of new trends and protocols for travel. 

On the local front, there’s a lot to do in Baltimore. Most area attractions are open with essential changes. Masks are required in public areas, social distancing is enforced, high traffic areas are sanitized and, if equipment is used, sanitization is done between uses. However, searching online is the best way to find local activities that fit your family. Now-a-days, websites are providing updated information on COVID-19 restrictions, space availability and cost. 

For Baltimoreans, like Levy, who are planning to travel outside of the state, be sure to check BWI Thurgood Marshall airport’s website for the latest information on domestic and international travel. The CDC has strict guidelines for what they 

For purposes of this guidance, individuals are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the second dose in a two dose vaccine series or 2 weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine.” Read more on this at CDC.gov. 

If none of the above appeals to you then stay home, then kick back with fully vaccinated friends and relatives, order a bushel of crabs, throw some steaks on the grill, have Alexa que up Frankie Beverly and Maze and enjoy a safe summer!