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Gov. Hogan Criticizes Baltimore Mayor's Decision To Keep Baltimore's Indoor Mask Mandate

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore City will continue to require masks indoors and at outdoor venues like stadiums, while the state no longer requires masks outside and indoors in many cases.

Mayor Brandon Scott said too few people in Baltimore have gotten vaccinated to drop the mask mandate.

"Two out of three people you pass on the street are not vaccinated," he said during a Monday afternoon press conference.

Gov. Larry Hogan blasted Mayor Scott's decision to keep requiring masks.

"It just doesn't make any sense to me. I think the mayor might have the authority to do that. I know I saw him at the Preakness and at an event on Thursday night - both indoors - neither time with a mask, so if he's not going to do it, then he probably shouldn't tell other people to do it," Hogan said.

WJZ has reached out to the mayor's office for a response to Hogan's remarks.

The city plans to mandate masks until 65 percent of adults receive one dose of vaccine. Right now, Baltimore is at 42 percent and only 33 percent of those 16 and older are fully vaccinated.

"It is strongly advised that individuals who are not vaccinated continue wearing masks around others," said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa.

The city has seen double-digit declines in cases, the positivity rate and deaths.

"I don't necessarily know that there's been one particular group that's been harder to reach. I think we just need to provide access and do it in an equitable way," Dzirasa said.

She said the city is working to bring vaccines directly to people and noted a door-to-door vaccination campaign began last week for homebound residents.

Maryland is one of the few northeastern states that no longer requires masks indoors - although you must still wear masks in healthcare settings, schools, airports and on public transit.

The governor celebrated a record-low reported positivity rate on Monday and the smallest number of new infections since late March of 2020.



"It really is the beginning of the end," Hogan told reporters at BWI Marshall Airport.

Private businesses can still require masks.  Scott said he will provide support for those establishments that get pushback.

"We are concerned with people who do not want to follow the rules," the mayor said.

Although they aren't lifting the mask mandate just yet, Dzirasa said the metrics are still moving in the right direction.

"Our current percent positivity is 2.4%, a 53% decrease from four weeks ago," she said.

But she reminded people that unvaccinated people should still wear a mask.

"Masking is no longer required outdoors, except at outdoor venues. It is strongly advised that individuals not vaccinated continue wearing masks around others," Dzirasa said.

They also encouraged anyone who hasn't gotten the vaccinations yet to get one.

They remind residents they can go to to sign up for a vaccination. You can also call the city's COVID Call Center at 443-984-8650. This line is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department's website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ's coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

This story was originally published on May 17, 2021. 

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