Governor Larry Hogan announced on May 14 the end of the statewide mask mandate, except while in healthcare facilities, childcare facilities and schools, and on public transportation.
The Talbot County Health Department is closely following the CDC guidance at this time, which strongly recommends those who are unvaccinated continue to wear a mask.
Fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except those required by federal, state, or local law and rules, including local business and workplace guidance.
In Maryland, the current executive order requires everyone wear a mask in four types of settings: public transportation, healthcare facilities, childcare facilities, and schools.
Although there is no executive order requiring unvaccinated people to wear a mask, Dr. Maria Maguire, Talbot County Health Officer, strongly recommends everyone follows the CDC’s guidance that people who are not yet fully vaccinated still take all precautions, including wearing a mask.
Some fully vaccinated residents and visitors may choose to wear a mask because they feel more comfortable or continue to be cautious of their own personal risks, such as those who are immunocompromised.
“Those who are not fully vaccinated, including people who are partially vaccinated and not yet two weeks past their final vaccine shot, still need to wear a mask in many settings,” Maguire said. “Where there are other unvaccinated people around, whether that be indoors, at outdoor gatherings, at live performances, festivals, or at sporting events, it is imperative you take all precautions to ensure the safety of both yourselves and others.”
As of May 21, 49% of Talbot County residents are not fully vaccinated, meaning they should continue to wear their masks until they are at least two weeks after receiving their final vaccine dose.
“To avoid the confusion about masks, just get vaxxed!,” Maguire said.
“Widespread vaccination is the best and fastest way to end the pandemic and return toward a normal life,” Chuck Callahan, Talbot County Council president, said. “We are gaining ground on the race between vaccination and new variants of this virus. Getting as many people vaccinated will allow us to enjoy our summer together.”
The more people who are vaccinated, the less chance there is of spreading new variants of this virus in the months to come. Further benefits of receiving the vaccine include:
• not needing to wear a mask in nearly every setting
• not needing to quarantine if you are exposed
• not needing to be tested for COVID following a known exposure under most circumstances.
“As a community, Talbot County continues to pull together to address the needs of others as we navigate the various impacts of this pandemic,” said Clay Stamp, Talbot County manager. “Right now, we must continue to rally around those in need and promote vaccination as we are in a race to immunity with this stubborn virus.”
If you wish to be vaccinated, you can call the Talbot County Vaccine Helpline at 410-819-5641. Talbot County is offering Moderna, J&J, and Pfizer vaccines throughout the coming months in hopes of vaccinating as many individuals as possible at their convenience.
As of May 12, Pfizer is officially approved for anyone 12 years old and older. At this time, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines may be administered to people 18 years and older.