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Maryland 's Mask Policies Are Shifting—But Not For Everyone

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Masks will no longer be required inside Maryland's state buildings starting on Feb. 22.

Gov. Larry Hogan made the announcement this week as key COVID-19 metrics like hospitalizations and the positivity rate decreased.

Some county leaders support Hogan's move to remove the mandate, but other jurisdictions say they will remain cautious.

Harford County and Carroll County had already gotten rid of the mask mandate for government buildings in early February.

Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County will drop the mandate for government buildings by the end of February.

"I am in alignment with what the governor announced just yesterday that state office buildings will no longer require masks," Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said. "We still encourage people to do what they think is best for themselves."

Howard County officials have not dropped the indoor mask mandate for government buildings. A spokesperson told WJZ that officials will continue to review the numbers and make a decision accordingly. 

In Baltimore City, the indoor mask mandate is still in effect.

A statement from Mayor Brandon Scott's office notes that "Baltimore City is currently at high community transmission per CDC criteria. "

"The CDC has recommended that both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals remain masked indoors for areas experiencing substantial or high transmission rates, " the statement says. "Therefore, the indoor mask order will remain in place until the City is back at moderate to low transmission as defined by the CDC. We will continue to evaluate the data weekly to determine when it's appropriate to lift the city-wide mask mandate."

WJZ spoke with a White House official who supports a more cautious move forward.

"From a federal perspective we say our true north is the science, we wait for CDC to do a thorough rigorous review of the current data and give us a sense of what our next set of recommendations could or should be," Dr. Cameron Webb, a senior policy advisor for equity on the White House COVID-19 response, said.

Citizens continue to have mixed opinions on mask mandates.

"I think the best protection is to wear a mask, indoor or outdoor all the time," Sudha McCusker of Baltimore County said.

"I feel comfortable with it as long as people are responsible if they are feeling well," Kimberly Cincotta said when asked about the state slowly eliminating the mask mandate. "Let's have some common sense, if you are under the weather, I suggest you wear a mask."

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