Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan drops the state's outdoor mask mandate

Gov. Hogan said he hopes the state can "return to a sense of normalcy" in the upcoming weeks.
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has lifted the state's requirement that residents must wear a COVID-19 masks or other face coverings when outdoors.

The governor made the announcement Wednesday and also said all restrictions on outdoor dining would be lifted May 1.

The announcement comes as roughly half the country's adult population has received at least on virus vaccine shot and virus-related numbers continue to decline in most places. 

Still, Hogan is urging resident who have not been vaccinated to continue to wear a mask and for all residents to maintain a safe social distance between one another, continue to wear masks indoors and to get vaccinated, according to Fox 5 TV. 

"We expect to be able to take additional actions in the weeks ahead and to return to a sense of normalcy," Hogan said. "The fastest way to put this pandemic behind us once and for all is for every single eligible Marylander to get vaccinated as soon as possible."

County leaders in the state will still make decisions on their local level about mask wearing.

Also on May 1, all Marylanders will be eligible to get their COVID-19 vaccination shots.

Maryland dropping outdoor mask mandates came just a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that it was safe for fully vaccinated people to go outside without masks.

Maryland has so far surpassed more than 4.5 million vaccines delivered, with nearly 85 percent of those over the age of 65 having been vaccinated.