HOGAN LIFTS OUTDOOR MASK MANDATE: Due to declining coronavirus rates in the state and consistent with federal guidelines, Marylanders are no longer required to wear face coverings when outdoors, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday, reports Bryan Renbaum for Maryland Reporter.
- Hogan “strongly encouraged” those who are not vaccinated against the coronavirus to continue to mask up, Pamela Wood and Alex Mann of the Sun report. Masks still are required in Maryland at “large ticketed venues” that are outdoors, such as stadiums, as well as at indoor businesses and on public transit.
- Effective immediately, Maryland residents no longer have to wear masks in outdoor settings, regardless of whether they have been vaccinated, reports Greg Swatek for the Frederick News-Post.
- Hogan arrived at the news conference outside the front door of the governor’s official residence without a mask along with state Health Secretary Dennis Schrader and Deputy Health Secretary Jinleen Chan, who also wore no masks. When Hogan made the announcement, some staffers as well as security and some reporters removed their masks, Bryan Sears reports for the Daily Record.
- The governor also said the state’s vaccine supply is now “even” with demand, meaning that everyone who wants a shot can get one. “We have plenty,” he told reporters at a news conference outside Government House.
- You can watch the 18-minute video of the news conference by clicking here.
STATE FINALIZES HBCU SETTLEMENT: Maryland has finalized a $577 million settlement to end a 15-year federal lawsuit relating to underfunding at the state’s four historically Black colleges and universities, state officials announced Wednesday, Brian Witte of the AP reports.
- Elizabeth Shwe of Maryland Matters reports that Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) announced Wednesday morning that he had settled the case. “This settlement marks an historic investment in Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. It will enable these valued institutions to expand their academic reach and to assist thousands of students with getting the education they deserve,” Frosh said in a statement.
VP HARRIS IN B’MORE: On the Biden administration’s 100th day Thursday, Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Baltimore to tout COVID-19 vaccination and recovery efforts and pitch massive jobs and family aid packages that will be considered by a sharply divided Congress, Jeff Barker of the Sun reports.
BRAVEBOY ORGANIZES CHAT WITH BLACK WOMEN PROSECUTORS: Some are mothers. Some are daughters. Some are wives. They all represent a sisterhood of prosecutors nationwide. Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy organized a slightly more than two-hour virtual town hall on Facebook with about a dozen Black women prosecutors from across the country to discuss challenges in the elected position, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer.
CARROLL SCHOOL COVID CASES DROP 4%: Total COVID-19 cases in Carroll County Public Schools dropped by 4% this week, but the number of positive students remains unchanged, as high as it has been. Case numbers decreased from 98 to 94 within a week due to four fewer staff members having the virus, Kristen Griffith and Bob Blubaugh report for the Carroll County Times.
MO CO STUDENTS SAY SAFETY TASK FORCE DOESN’T GO FAR ENOUGH: A group of Montgomery County students is pushing back against a new task force aimed at “reimagining” school safety, saying it does not do enough to remove police from buildings and fails to prioritize students’ input, Caitlynn Peetz reports for Bethesda Beat.
MO CO TO RESUME J&J VAXX: Montgomery County will resume administering the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine next week after a pause while federal agencies reviewed a potential link to cases of rare blood clots, Briana Adhikusuma of Bethesda Beat reports.
CHARLES COUNTY KICKS OFF RURAL BROADBAND PROJECT: A multi-million dollar project to expand high-speed internet to rural Charles County formally broke ground Wednesday. The roughly $6 million project is a partnership between Charles County and the Chestertown-based fiber optic internet supplier ThinkBig Networks. Over the next 28 months, ThinkBig will install 90 miles of wireline broadband connections in the rural communities of Nanjemoy and Cobb Neck in southern Charles, Bennett Leckrone of Maryland Matters reports.
PARTISAN POLITICS ENTERS WESTMINSTER MAYOR’s RACE: A Westminster mayoral candidate is receiving campaign help from the local and state Republican party committees. His opponent and some members of the public believe partisan groups should not be involved in nonpartisan races, Kristen Griffith of the Carroll County Times reports.
FREDERICK CITY PLANS DROP BOXES FOR ELECTIONS: Planning an election with a heavy focus on mail-in voting, Frederick will have at least five secure boxes for people to drop off their ballots, and possibly six, for its September primaries and November general election, Ryan Marshall reports for the Frederick News-Post.
SUN, TRIB SUED OVER CAPITAL GAZETTE RENT: The company that owns the building formerly occupied by the Capital Gazette newspaper group is suing The Baltimore Sun and Tribune Publishing for breach of rental contract, following the office’s closure during the coronavirus pandemic last summer, Hallie Miller of the Sun reports.