Baltimore County

Baltimore County to lift indoor mask mandate Tuesday

Citing “encouraging progress” in Baltimore County’s coronavirus metrics, County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. will end the indoor mask mandate put in effect last month.

Starting Tuesday, patrons of county businesses will no longer be required to wear face coverings to prevent spreading the coronavirus. The county will also allow its state of emergency, which was reinstated to hasten the procurement process for health officials, to expire Feb. 7 rather than require the County Council to vote on whether to continue it beyond Sunday.


COVID-19 metrics have trended favorably since Olszewski, a Democrat, put the mask order in place as the highly-contagious omicron variant spread, causing cases to surge and pushing hospitals into “crisis mode” standards of care.

County spokesman Sean Naron said the county’s positivity rate has decreased by almost 80% since Jan. 3, putting its seven-day testing positivity rate at 6.8%. The New York Times coronavirus metrics tracker, meanwhile, put the county’s 14-day average testing positivity rate at 22%.


Since Jan. 11, the average number of patients hospitalized with coronavirus has dropped by almost half, with 166 people hospitalized for COVID-19 complications as of Monday, Naron said. The New York Times reports hospitalizations in the county have gone up by 8% in the last 14 days.

The county has the lowest rate of cases per 100,000 among Maryland’s 24 jurisdictions over the last 14 days, according to the Times’ tracker, which compiles its report using data from state health departments and county governments. Maryland, according to the data, has reported the lowest case rate of any U.S. state over the last 14 days.

“We are strongly encouraged by the progress we’ve seen in recent days and remain cautiously optimistic that we are emerging from this omicron wave,” Olszewski said in a statement.

He reminded residents to get vaccinated and boosted “as soon as possible.”

The county’s announcement comes as Anne Arundel County’s mask order ends, and as Harford County prepares to rescind its own mandate requiring face coverings in government buildings.