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4.14.20 – Anne Arundel County Requires Retail Shoppers and Employees to Wear Face Coverings to Prevent COVID-19’s Spread

Last updated: June 16, 2020

4.15.20 – State of Maryland Now Requiring Use of Face Coverings in Retail and Food Establishments and on Public Transportation


April 14, 2020 — County Executive Steuart Pittman and Anne Arundel Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman jointly announced an Order for Public Safety with Interpretive Guidance that requires shoppers to wear face coverings in retail stores beginning Wednesday, April 15. Employees of retail stores will also be required to wear face coverings in any area of the store where they are likely to come in contact with coworkers or the public.

The order does not apply to children under 2 years old or those who could not wear a mask without inhibiting their health. Face coverings may be made of cloth or other materials and need not be surgical grade masks such as N95 masks, which should be reserved for health workers. Face coverings can include no-sew masks, bandanas, scarves, gaiters or other coverings that cover a person’s nose and mouth.

The order was signed by Dr. Kalyanaraman, acting on the authority granted to him as county health officer by Governor Larry Hogan’s April 5 executive order. It affects all retail establishments allowed to remain open as essential businesses under the Governor’s stay at home order of March 30.

“This is an action that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, and therefore will save lives,” said County Executive Pittman. “I ask all county residents to conduct their daily business as if they have the coronavirus. I appreciate Dr. Kalyanaraman taking decisive action to protect shoppers and store employees during this crisis.”

“Masks protect you and those around you,” said Dr. Kalyanaraman. “It’s an important way each of us can slow the spread of the virus.”

In addition to the face covering requirements, the order also requires retail businesses to:

  • limit customer capacity to 50% of normal capacity;
  • maintain six feet between customers in checkout lines;
  • make aisles one-way wherever possible;
  • clearly mark social distancing restrictions, including six-foot separations and one-way requirements, on the floor;
  • provide access to sanitary restrooms and soap and or hand sanitizer for customers and workers; and
  • discontinue all self-service food counters.

The installation of a physical barrier or shield (e.g.,clear Plexiglas or heavy plastic sheeting) between cashiers and customers is highly encouraged.

To read the Order for Public Safety, click here. For the Interpretive Guidance, click here. Complaints or violations of this order will be investigated by the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. Submit complaints on the Contact Us Form.

Violations are subject to a maximum $500 fine. The Department of Health has the authority to issue closure orders to businesses that violate this policy if necessary, however warnings will be issued first.

For up-to-date information and guidance about COVID-19, visit www.aahealth.org/covid19/.

For general questions about the disease, residents are encouraged to call COVID-19 Health Line at 410-222-7256. Individuals concerned about medical information should call their healthcare provider.

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