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Baltimore County to lift masking mandate

John Lee
Towson Historic Courthouse, the seat of Baltimore County government.

Baltimore County’s mask mandate ends at midnight Monday, one month after Executive Johnny Olszewski put it in place.

And the county’s state of emergency will expire next week.

County spokesman Sean Naron said they have seen an 80% drop in reported COVID-19 cases since January 3.

Olszewski announced the emergency declaration and mask mandate December 27, citing skyrocketing rates of the omicron variant. He has the authority to put in place a state of emergency for one week. The following week the county council voted to extend it to February 7.

In a statement Monday announcing the lifting of both the indoor masking requirement and state of emergency Olszewski said, “We are strongly encouraged by the progress we’ve seen in recent days and remain cautiously optimistic that we are emerging from the omicron wave.”

Olszewski said the state of emergency was put in place primarily so the county could quickly buy supplies like masks and home testing kits.

“There were very clear benefits but as we’re hopefully emerging from this wave, we’re hopeful that we’re back to not needing those emergency authorizations to move quickly," Olszewski said in an interview.

You will still be required to wear masks inside county buildings.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2