Changes in Maryland

A number of new laws and other significant changes are taking effect in Maryland on July 1, 2021.  Among them is the institution of Maryland Health Services Phone Call Program.  Additionally, the long-awaited lifting of the Maryland State of Emergency occurs on that date.

Health Services Phone Call Program

Maryland has instituted the Maryland Health Services Phone Call Program.  The program will establish an opt-in mental health service phone call program through 211 Maryland.  Residents who participate in the program by dialing 2-1-1 will receive periodic calls from the 2-1-1 line and, if needed, will also be connected to mental health services in Maryland.  2-1-1 Maryland offers 24/7 guidance regarding access to health, crisis and social services.

The legislation is entitled, the Thomas Bloom Raskin Act in honor of Maryland Congressman, Jamie Raskin’s, late son who passed away on December 31, 2020 after a lifelong battle with mental illness.

COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted

Also effective July 1, 2021, is the lifting of Maryland’s COVID-19 State of Emergency instituted in March 2020.  This removes many COVID-19 related restrictions in Maryland, including the mask mandate.  Governor Hogan, with the order lifting the State of Emergency announced that masks will not be required for vaccinated individuals anywhere but highly recommended that unvaccinated individuals continue to wear masks.  Private businesses can still set their own restrictions in regard to masks, but they will no longer be required to ask patrons to wear them.

With this new order, there is a 45 day “grace period” that allows residents extra time to renew expired driver’s licenses and provides protections from evictions and foreclosures related to COVID-19.  A full list of emergency orders in effect during the 45-day grace period can be found here.  This 45-day period ends on August 15.

Another change this order brings is the opening up of certain state agencies.  The Maryland Comptroller’s office is now open for in person appointments, which can be made on their website.  Similarly, the State Department of Assessments and Taxation has limited in-person availability that varies by office.