BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Office of the Maryland State Fire Marshal said Saturday it has received concerns from citizens over fears of fire code violations as some businesses restrict the number of customers allowed inside stores amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials said the State Fire Prevention Code does not require a minimum number of entrances into any mercantile store. Stores are permitted to restrict entrances to a smaller number than normal.

Officials said, however, it is essential that all required interior emergency exits are clear of any obstructions and are available in the event of an emergency.


These exits are permitted to be marked as “for use in an emergency only” with signage or employees posted at the exits.

Obstructions such as carts, shelving, temporary walls or other items would not be permitted by the State Fire Prevention Code and would be required to be removed immediately.

State Fire Marshal Brian Geraci said he encourages all mercantile operators and patrons to promote and use current guidelines on essential travel and social distancing.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.


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