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Urgent Information Regarding Face Coverings and Social Distancing

Updated: Jul 3, 2021

In an effort to provide you with important information about the COVID-19 health emergency, please be aware that the Montgomery County Health Department (Department) has issued an Order requiring that beginning on Monday, April 13th:

  1. Shoppers wear face coverings in grocery stores, pharmacies, and large retail stores;

  2. Retailers allow only a certain number of shoppers in their stores at one time; and

  3. Shoppers practice physical distancing while awaiting entry into stores.

Please note that the facial covering requirement does not apply to children under the age of two or those with breathing difficulties. In addition, the Department requests that N95 masks be reserved only for health care workers. For more detailed information about this Order, please see below the press release from the Montgomery County Government.

Remember: Be smart, stay apart!

Montgomery County Government Press Release

Montgomery County Government April 9, 2020:

County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles today announced that beginning Monday, April 13, shoppers will be required to wear face coverings in grocery stores, pharmacies, and large chain retail establishments. The health order also requires that these retailers establish capacity limits by allowing a small number of customers in the store at a time. Lines outside a store must promote physical distancing spaces for customers while waiting. “We are working on many fronts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Protecting shoppers and store employees is critical,” said Gayles.

Masks are not advised for children under two years of age, or for people who have difficulty breathing. Masks made for use in health care settings, such as N95 masks, should be reserved for health care workers. Cloth masks are an acceptable alternative for face coverings. These retail stores are required to provide employees with access to clean restrooms stocked with soap and sanitizer. They must allow employees to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes. Employees must be allowed to wear masks or face coverings. In addition, the order requires that these stores comply with existing state and local sanitation requirements and statutes. Any complaints will be investigated according to standard protocols and policy. Violators are subject to a $500 fine, and a $750 fine for each subsequent violation.

Other safety measures aimed at protecting workers and shoppers include implementing physical distancing measures for workers, customers, and visitors. Appropriate signage and markings to reinforce social distancing and spacing must be displayed. Businesses who use shared equipment, such as baskets or hand carts, are encouraged to provide sanitation equipment such as disinfectant wipes or alcohol swabs, for individual use. Businesses are also encouraged to install clear physical barriers between cashiers and customers, where possible.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order on Monday, March 30. All residents must remain in their homes unless they are essential employees traveling to or from work, obtaining food or medicine or seeking urgent medical care. ∙ Be sure to say at least six feet away from anyone who is not a member of your household. ∙ Avoid gathering in groups. ∙ Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 second. ∙ Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available. ∙ Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using standard cleaning practices. ∙ Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your sleeve, or your elbow. ∙ Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. ∙ Avoid close contact with people who are sick. ∙ If you are sick, stay home except to get medical care.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.

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