HOGAN LIFTS MORE COVID RESTRICTIONS: Due to rapidly declining coronavirus positivity rates and improved vaccination metrics this weekend the state will lift all capacity restrictions on entertainment venues and dining establishments, Bryan Renbaum reports for Maryland Reporter.
- In the latest sign that the state is emerging from a pandemic that has upended everyday life for more than a year, Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday eased most of the remaining restrictions on public gatherings and commerce, reports Bruce DePuyt for Maryland Matters.
- Hogan announced that all businesses in the state, including restaurants and entertainment and sporting venues, can resume normal operations on Saturday, Ovetta Wiggins, Rebecca Tan and Rachel Chason of the Post report.
- If Marylanders keep getting vaccinated, they soon could be allowed to ditch their masks indoors, Hogan also announced. Once at least 70% of adults in the state get at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, Hogan said Maryland will lift the requirement to wear masks in indoor public spaces, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
- Indoor mask wearing will remain, Steve Bohnel of the Frederick News-Post reports.
- Madeleine O’Neill of the USA Today Network reports that Hogan said that businesses can still keep more stringent limits in place. “Because we’re authorizing them to be able to do it doesn’t mean each business is going to make that decision,” he said. The state will also begin vaccinating adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 on Thursday.
LOCALS FOLLOW SUIT: Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced Wednesday the county will follow the state in lifting restrictions on event venues and restaurants, effective Saturday, May 15, Pamela Wood and Danielle Ohl report in the Capital Gazette.
- Emily Opilo of the Sun writes that Baltimore will lift coronavirus restrictions on restaurants and numerous other facilities, bringing the city closer to being in line with much of the rest of the state, according to Mayor Brandon Scott.
- With more than 620,000 Prince George’s County residents receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, certain restrictions on businesses and other activities plan to be lifted by 5 p.m. Monday, May 17, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer.
- The Carroll County Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously on Wednesday evening to lift the outdoor mask requirement on school grounds, Kristen Griffith of the Carroll County Times reports.
OPINION: THE OTHER DEATHS FROM COVID: In a column for Maryland Reporter, Dr. Shobhit Negi writes about the worsening Covid crisis in India and opines that “the focus on the death toll or infection rate of any pandemic, unfortunately, eclipses the psychosocial ramifications associated with coping with the loss of a loved one and restrictions in lifestyle. Based on studies of previous epidemics, there may be a short-term decrease in suicide initially but an increase later.”
MAYOR SCOTT HOPES TO RESTART JUSTICE COUNCIL: Mayor Brandon Scott is seeking to drum up support among former members of the Baltimore City Criminal Justice Coordinating Council to restart the group, which shut down in 2017 when Gov. Larry Hogan pulled its funding, Emily Opilo of the Sun reports.
STATE WORKS TO ALLEVIATE FUEL SHORTAGES: Gas prices reached an average of $3 per gallon nationwide for the first time in seven years Wednesday, as federal and Maryland leaders announced efforts to alleviate fuel shortages from the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which carries nearly half of the East Coast’s supply, Colin Campbell of the Sun reports.
REDISTRICTING PANEL SEEKS HELP WITH HISPANIC OUTREACH: The Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission, which is drawing up proposed congressional and legislative maps for the state’s next round of redistricting, appointed an adviser at their Wednesday night meeting to help with outreach to Maryland’s Hispanic community, Bennett Leckrone reports for Maryland Matters.
FEW WOMEN SEEK HIGH OFFICE IN MARYLAND: In a lengthy article for Maryland Matters, Elizabeth Shwe examines the seeming dearth of women that are running for higher office in Maryland. “As candidates continue to announce bids for statewide and countywide jobs and for congressional seats in 2022, the imbalance between men and women running for high office in Maryland becomes more conspicuous,” she writes.
NEWCOMER CHALLENGES SEN. KRAMER: A public health professional and scientist who until recently worked on Capitol Hill is taking aim at state Sen. Ben Kramer (D-Montgomery). Zachary Kiser, a 31-year-old resident of the Aspen Hill neighborhood in Rockville, will announce Thursday that he’s challenging Kramer in the 2022 Democratic primary, Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matters writes.
STATE JETTISONS PROMOTIONS TENT AT PREAKNESS: As Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore hosts the Preakness Stakes on Saturday, state government officials won’t be hobnobbing and wooing businesses at a taxpayer-funded luxury tent as they have in the past, Pamela Wood of the Sun reports.
TOWSON U. SEEKS TO RENAME TWO DORMS: Towson University has submitted a request to rename two residential halls, named for prominent historic Maryland politicians who were slaveowners, after convening a committee to review the names last summer. On Wednesday, the Board of Regents Committee on Advancement unanimously approved the request, which will now move on to the full board, Johanna Alonso reports for the Daily Record. The buildings are named for Charles Carroll and William Paca.
WOMEN TO LEAD TWO LOCAL NEWS ORGANIZATIONS: The Washington Post has named longtime journalist Sally Buzbee of the Associated Press as its executive editor, marking the first time a woman has been appointed to lead the 143-year-old news organization. Buzbee, AP’s executive editor and senior vice president, will take over leadership of The Post’s nearly 1,000-person newsroom next month, Paul Farhi of the Post reports.
- Maryland Matters Deputy Editor Danielle E. Gaines has become editor of the website, replacing Josh Kurtz, the Maryland Matters editor and co-founder who will take on the title of Founding Editor. Kurtz will become a full-time reporter for Maryland Matters and will lead a long-term project that will be announced later this month.