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Good morning -

I hope you and your family had a great weekend. On Friday we got very good news regarding the mask mandate and COVID19 protocols. I have been pushing for a loosening of restrictions for some time. I'll have more below about this welcome news. I'm hopeful more progress will be made regarding schools soon.

Ready OPEd on Police "Reform" in Carroll County Times

My recent OpEd on the dangerous anti-law and order and anti-policing - policies passed in this year’s General Assembly.  The idea of balanced, reasonable approaches to tough controversial issues was swept aside.  The battle over “police reform” was probably the best example of the Maryland General Assembly’s swing to the left.  I laid out some specific examples of why this package of anti-policing bills is so troubling and discussed need for change. Read my full OpEd here: Senator Ready OpEd on Police "Reform" in Carroll County Times - Ready for Maryland (justinready.com)

Mask Mandate Mostly Lifted in Maryland

On Friday, responding to sudden (but long overdue) pronouncements from the CDC, declinging case rates, and rising vaccination percentages, Governor Hogan lifted the indoor mask mandate with three exceptions. Masks are required on public transportation, in medical settings and in school. Private businesses and workplaces are free to put in place their own policies or guidance. Local jurisdictions are free to use their own emergency powers on these matters as well but the Carroll County Commissioners have already stated that the county will align with Hogan's order. On schools, in particular, I am continuing to advocate for common sense as I do not believe masks should be mandated for children, especially our elementary and middle school kids.

Here's the actual language contained in the Executive Order: 

Effective at midnight Friday:

  1. Requirement to Wear Face Coverings
  2. Except as provided in paragraph III.b, all persons in Maryland over the age of five (5) years old are required to wear a Face Covering when they are:
  3. in or on any Public Transportation or School Bus;
  4. obtaining healthcare services, including without limitation, in offices of physicians and dentists, hospitals, pharmacies, and laboratories; and
  5. indoors in any portion of a School where interaction with others is likely, including without limitation, classrooms, hallways, cafeterias, auditoriums, and gymnasiums.
  6. Single-use Face Coverings shall be properly discarded in trash receptacles.

Exceptions:

Paragraph III. a.i does not require persons to wear Face Coverings:
i. if, due to a bona fide disability or medical condition, it would be unsafe for the person to do so;

  1. to the extent wearing a Face Covering would impede communication by or with persons who have a hearing impairment or other disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;

iii. if wearing a Face Covering would subject the person to an unsafe working condition, as determined by federal, state, or local occupational safety regulators or workplace safety guidelines;

  1. to the extent wearing a Face Covering would make it impossible to receive services requiring access to the face, mouth, or head;
  2. while consuming food or beverages;
  3. while swimming or engaging in other physical activities where the use of a Face Covering is likely to pose a bona fide safety risk;

vii. while operating any Public Transportation conveyance, provided that the person is (1) the sole operator of the conveyance, and (2) located in a separate compartment that is off-limits to riders; or

viii. to the extent it is necessary to observe the person’s entire face to verify such person’s identity for bona fide security purposes.”

Also in the order, the Governor eliminated the ability of local health officers from closing businesses for not following Covid health protocols. 

That language reads:

The Order of the Governor of the State of Maryland number 20-04-05-02, entitled “Delegating Authority to Local Health Officials to Control and Close Unsafe Facilities” is rescinded and of no further effect.

The order also aligns with the Governor's action to lift capacity restrictions:

EFFECTIVE SATURDAY, MAY 15 at 12:01 a.m.:

  • INDOOR AND OUTDOOR VENUES. Indoor and outdoor venues may resume normal operations. All remaining capacity restrictions will be lifted on all indoor entertainment venues and conventions, and all outdoor entertainment, art, and sports venues, including all ticketed events.
  • INDOOR AND OUTDOOR DINING. Restaurants and bars may resume normal operations, as all remaining capacity and distancing restrictions and all other limits will be lifted on indoor and outdoor dining.
  • CRUISE TERMINAL.The cruise terminal in Baltimore City will be reopening. The CDC is working directly with cruise ports and industry representatives to prepare for a safe return to business.

To date, Maryland has reported 5,449,741 vaccinations, and nearly 66% of Maryland adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at my office - [email protected] or call 410-841-3683. My team and I will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible.