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'A Major Step Forward' Maryland's Covid-19 State Of Emergency Ends

 BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- As of 6:00 a.m. on July 1, all covid-related restrictions in Maryland are no longer in effect as the state lifts its State of Emergency.

Baltimore City also lifted its mask mandate today in alignment with the state.

Governor Hogan said the State of Emergency will be lifted in two phases -- with some policies ending today and others after a 45 day grace period. He said this is to help people ease back into normal life.

"I feel excited about it, to be honest," said Alex Lai, Howard County resident.

Masks are no longer required in any setting, including schools, camps and child care facilities -- except where required by local rules.

It's a move made possible as vaccinations increase and covid cases continue to decline.

Nearly 75 percent of Maryland adults have now received at least one shot. Gov. Hogan commended the diligent state-wide efforts during his announcement in June.

"While the end of the state of emergency is an important step in our recovery from covid-19, it does not mean that this virus and the variants no longer pose any threat," said Gov. Hogan.

After a tireless effort to put millions of shots in people's arms, mass vaccination sites across the state are beginning to shut down beginning Thursday with the Mall in Columbia.

"We are actually celebrating that hope is on the horizon and we are on the road to recovery," said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball.

On Friday, the M&T Bank Stadium site will also close after vaccinating nearly 250,000 people. Officials are crediting the efforts to the over 400 nurses and 15 pharmacists and pharmacy technicians on staff, along with 85 Maryland Air National Guard Members -- just to name a few.

The state is also canceling its enhanced unemployment benefits this Saturday, which provided an additional $300 a week to unemployed Marylanders.

This comes as the Unemployed Workers Union rallied this week in Baltimore as their class-action lawsuit went before a judge.

"The people that we work for need these benefits," said Alec Summerfield, attorney.

Other measures including the ban on evictions and renewing expired driver's licenses will start to wind down over the next 45 days ending on Aug. 15.

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