From the Council President
AND THE GOOD NEWS IS........ Maryland will end most of its coronavirus emergency restrictions on July 1, closing an intense 15-month chapter in our state’s history in which nearly 9,500 people died. Gov. Larry Hogan recently announced the lifting in just over two weeks of most statewide restrictions and orders related to the pandemic. The state’s mask order — which requires face coverings indoors at schools, day care centers, medical settings and on mass transit — will expire the same day. A federal order requiring masks on planes, subways, buses and other mass transit remains in effect. Hogan said businesses can set their own rules on mask wearing. While most of the state rules and orders will end July 1, a state of emergency, first issued on March 5, 2020, won’t legally expire until August 15, according to the governor’s office. During the 45-day grace period, certain rules and regulations will continue to be relaxed, such as requirements for renewing expired driver’s licenses. A moratorium on evictions will run through August 15, as well.
Dr. Gregory Schrank, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said Maryland is well-positioned compared to other states in terms of high vaccination rates along with low hospitalizations and case rates. “The timing is good, particularly going into summer and everyone is outdoors where we know it’s safer,” Schrank said. He warned, however, that state health officials and the public should remain concerned about coronavirus variants. The new Delta variant, for example, is more easily transmitted between people and is associated with more serious illness.
So what does that mean for St. Mark's?????? I Don't Know? The Covid Taskforce will meet on July 8th at 6:30 to discuss this matter. We will make decisions with the help of our Synod, our county officials and with trust in God to assist. We know that God has seen us through this challenging time so far, and we know he is still with us. While we may want to just "get back to normal", we must be cautious, show restraint, and with a concern for the needs of the most vulnerable of our communities – not just what we want. Just because you “can,” doesn’t mean we “ought.” The first Sunday in July, we will begin sitting in every pew. We will also stand, as you are able, for singing hymns. Please continue to pray for St. Mark's leaders, members and community.
Blessings, Pat Kelley