The state of emergency order that Governor Larry Hogan implemented due to the COVID-19 health crisis is no longer in effect.As of Maryland State statistics on Thursday morning, July 1, more than 704,000 Montgomery County residents (67 percent of the overall population) have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination and 638,500 (60.8 percent) is now fully vaccinated. Montgomery County continues to have one of the highest vaccination rates in the nation among counties with populations of 300,000 or more.
According to Governor Hogan, “All emergency mandates and restrictions will be terminated as of July 1. There will no longer be any statewide mask order in effect for any settings, including schools, camps and childcare facilities.” However, local jurisdiction can still establish their own guidelines.
Today also begins a 45-day grace period, according to Governor Hogan, “where certain regulations will continue to be relaxed to complete the administrative transition out of the pandemic. This includes such provisions as renewing driver’s licenses, winding down emergency health operations and the moratorium on evictions related to COVID-19.”
Despite the progress in residents receiving vaccines, County Health Officer Travis Gayles urges that all residents take precautions in certain circumstances, especially with COVID-19 variants known to be present.
“The following recommendations are put forward for businesses and entities to consider,” Dr. Gayles wrote this week. “Further action may be taken by the Montgomery County Council, sitting as the Board of Health, and all businesses and entities to retain the right to require face coverings and other public health provisions at their discretion.”
Dr. Gayles has offered the following recommendations for the immediate period regarding safety measures to avoid COVID-19:
- Unvaccinated individuals should continue to wear face coverings when interacting with others in public spaces.
- Continued usage of face coverings on public transit aligned with Federal government guidelines, and until such guidelines are rescinded.
- Given the lack of availability for residents under 12 to get the vaccine, and consistent with recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the recommendation is for continuing face coverings for children and staff in schools, childcare programs and camps, including school settings and childcare settings.
- Indoors when an unvaccinated individual will be with those from outside their household (physical distancing also should be maintained).
- Outdoors when an unvaccinated individual is in large group settings (physical distancing also should be maintained).
- During indoor and outdoor sports that require close contact, with some exceptions.
- In congregate settings, such as correctional and detention facilities, and homeless shelters.
- In healthcare-related settings.