BALTIMORE — Many of Governor Larry Hogan's emergency orders to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Maryland - will terminate just after midnight tonight.
The announcement, made two weeks ago, signaled "the light at the end of that long tunnel," as Hogan put it.
The Maryland Secretary of Health, Dennis Schrader told WMAR 2 News, "We've taken a very close look at our environment and the data, we think we're in a good place."
Schrader added that there wasn't a specific case count or vaccine percentage they were targeting for an end to the emergency, but they were looking at the data as a whole.
"It wasn't a hard number that if we hit this number, we're going to be able to go forward," he said.
Baltimore City Delegate Stephanie Smith worries, that some populations might get left behind.
"I'm fearful that groups that were already feeling left behind, may inadvertently be deepening that chasm based on the information available, based on the access to the vaccine," she says.
Dr. Roland Thorpe, from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, adds that, "It [the pandemic] brought more heightened awareness of the social ills that affected by the African American community, in the state of Maryland."
He added that, "when the state of emergency and on Thursday, they're going to remain."
Schrader emphasized that people who aren't vaccinated are still at risk.
He tells us, "Unvaccinated individuals still face a pretty serious risk of illness, possibly death, in particular, from the highly contagious variants like the Delta variants."
But, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated Marylanders - rules in the state are about to change.
Statewide masking mandates, as well as the quarantining and testing of travelers will be over.
Alternative marriage procedures and providing of child care for essential personnel will end.
And Santa Claus' exemption from quarantine will be terminated.
Meanwhile - several emergency orders will remain in effect for another 45 days, including Driver's License Extension, nursing home oversight, healthcare workforce flexibility and healthcare license extensions.
Vaccine administration reporting is also an order to be rescinded on August 15th, but Secretary Schrader says that the state's Health Department will continue to require vaccination reporting, but this will allow for the end of the emergency order in place.