Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
July 29, 2021

Baltimore to lift citywide mask mandate

By MIN-SEO KIM | June 19, 2021

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COURTESY OF MIN-SEO KIM

Students had mixed reactions to Baltimore city lifting its mask mandate.

Baltimore City Mayor Brandon Scott announced on June 16 that the citywide mask mandate and state of emergency will be lifted as of July 1. Scott noted that businesses and workplaces will be allowed to continue their own mask mandates. These new mask guidelines came the day after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan did the same for the state. 

Rising sophomore Jabari Lawrence agreed with the decision to lift the mandate but was unsure why July 1 was the chosen date. 

“It seems like decisions to lift mandates recently have been a bit arbitrary,” he said. “I just wish they would explain why they decide these particular dates. I think people would be much less confused and taken aback if they did.”

Rising sophomore Ilana Chalom does not plan on changing her masking behavior. 

“I still wear my mask everywhere,” she said.

In the past, city officials stated that they would keep the mandate in place until at least 65% of the adult population had been given at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. As of June 19, about 57% of adult Baltimoreans were at least partially vaccinated. 

Even though 65% of the population is not vaccinated, Scott and Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa cited improving trends in the city’s COVID-19 situation as reasons to lift the mandate. Over the last month, cases have been reduced by 82% and deaths by 73%; Dzirasa stated that effective vaccinations have caused the downward trend. 

Rising sophomore Harvey McGuinness, who is currently living in New Mexico, was shocked by Scott’s decision. 

McGuinness plans to continue wearing his mask in the future. 

“I know that where I am — here in Santa Fe — the majority of people are no longer wearing masks, and while that is their choice and is in keeping with recent CDC guidelines, I continue to wear mine,” he said.

The News-Letter reached out to University administrators for information about the University's masking policies going forward but did not receive a response by press time.

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