Face Cov­er­ing Re­quire­ments

The Dundalk Eagle - - NEWS - By MIKE URSERY murs­ery@ches­pub.com

As ju­ris­dic­tions in Mary­land and across the coun­try see in­creas­ing COVID-19 cases, Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Johnny Ol­szewski an­nounced today that Bal­ti­more County Health Of­fi­cer Dr. Gre­gory Wm. Branch has is­sued a new pub­lic health or­der re­quir­ing all in­di­vid­u­als ages two and over to wear face cov­er­ings in all in­door pub­lic spa­ces, and also strongly en­cour­ag­ing res­i­dents to wear face cov­er­ings in out­door pub­lic spa­ces wher­ever six-foot so­cial dis­tanc­ing is not pos­si­ble.

This new pub­lic health ad­vi­sory sup­ple­ments ex­ist­ing state or­ders (PDF), which cur­rently re­quire res­i­dents to wear masks in some in­door lo­ca­tions.

“The ad­vice of sci­en­tific ex­perts is clear: face cov­er­ings work. This com­mon­sense step will help re­duce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive Johnny Ol­szewski. “I want to thank our neigh­bors and busi­nesses who con­tinue to take the nec­es­sary steps to keep our loved ones safe. We must all do our part, or we risk jeop­ar­diz­ing the progress we’ve made to­gether.”

De­spite cur­rent preven­tion mea­sures, Bal­ti­more County is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the high­est seven-day av­er­age of 97 com­mu­nity cases per day—ex­ceed­ing the pre­vi­ous peak of 94 cases per day over a seven-day pe­riod in May. Mean­while, Bal­ti­more County’s pos­i­tiv­ity rate has in­creased since July 7 to 5.92 per­cent, demon­strat­ing con­tin­ued com­mu­nity trans­mis­sion of COVID-19. On Sun­day, Mary­land saw the largest num­ber of cases re­ported in a sin­gle day in nearly two months.

CDC guid­ance has demon­strated the ef­fec­tive­ness of face cov­er­ings in pre­vent­ing trans­mis­sion of COVID-19 by symp­to­matic, pre-symp­to­matic and asymp­to­matic in­di­vid­u­als. The sup­pres­sion of COVID-19 will be crit­i­cal in sup­port­ing fu­ture school re­open­ing, con­tin­u­ing Bal­ti­more County’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery, and safe­guard­ing pub­lic safety.

“Our fight against this virus is not over. With­out a vac­cine or a cure we must con­tinue to fol­low the sci­ence and the ev­i­dence which shows that face cov­er­ings—paired with so­cial dis­tanc­ing and avoid­ing large gath­er­ings—can slow the spread of this disease,” said Bal­ti­more County Health Of­fi­cer Dr. Gre­gory Wm. Branch. “Our data is be­gin­ning to show ini­tial trou­bling signs. To keep us from los­ing ground, we must act now.”

Be­gin­ning Thurs­day, July 23 at 9 a.m., Bal­ti­more County res­i­dents ages 2 and up will be re­quired to wear face cov­er­ings in any in­door busi­ness, ser­vice, or­ga­ni­za­tion, or es­tab­lish­ment that serves the gen­eral pub­lic. This in­cludes, but is not lim­ited to, re­tail es­tab­lish­ments, re­cre­ational es­tab­lish­ments, houses of wor­ship, and other lo­ca­tions open to the pub­lic.

Res­i­dents are strongly en­cour­aged to wear masks in out­door pub­lic ar­eas where so­cial dis­tanc­ing of at least six-feet is not pos­si­ble.

In­di­vid­u­als will not be re­quired to wear a mask if:

Eat­ing or drink­ing while seated at food ser­vice es­tab­lish­ments. In ac­cor­dance with Gov­er­nor

Ho­gan’s or­ders, face cov­er­ings are still re­quired when oth­er­wise mov­ing in or about a restau­rant or bar premises.

A face cov­er­ing can­not be worn due to a med­i­cal con­di­tion, men­tal health con­di­tion, or dis­abil­ity.

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