Authorities in Maryland will start to enforce the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recent advice that people wear cloth over their noses and mouths when entering public places, like grocery stores, to slow down the transmission of the new coronavirus. The state decree on face masks Thursday comes a week in which jurisdictions have implemented the recommendation on a piecemeal basis. If you're not certain what you should do when you are outdoors, here's a quick explanation:
When do I have to cover my nose and mouth in public?
Beginning from April 19, everyone must wear a face inside any retail establishment or when taking a ride with any way of public transport in Maryland, according to Gov. Larry Hogan's Executive Order announced on Tuesday. An order was issued by Anne Arundel County on Tuesday requiring face coverings and enhanced social distance measures in public places starting on Wednesday. People in Prince George County are required to wear masks when using the bus system or entering shopping malls, following orders from County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. Those in the county of Montgomery and Washington, D.C., are under fairly similar orders.
Do I need to wear a mask on when I'm out or when I'm in my car?
No, no. Although it might be wise to have one with you if you're going to meet others.
Am I actually going to be fined? How much is that?
Anne Arundel County does not plan to fine or punish people who do not wear face mask in public, said Elin Jones, spokesperson for the health center. But stores could be imposed a fine for up to $5,000 if they were caught repeatedly ignoring the social distancing rules in the county executive orders, she said. Still, the county aspires people to follow the orders that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, Jones said. "The orders are helpful for you and all the people around you, your family and the staff of the store," she said. "It's not just good for you, it's great for everyone to follow such guidelines."
What if I don't have a medical-grade face mask?
Don't worry about it. Orders do not necessitate people to use surgical masks or N95 protective suits, both of which are in short supply around the world due to a pandemic. If you don't have a face mask and don't know where to get one, consider placing an order online here. There are plenty of online stores that deliver face masks recently.