ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Starting Wednesday, all retail shoppers and employees in Anne Arundel County will be required to wear face coverings in stores.

“Our most effective tool to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is for each of us to act as though we are carriers of the virus, because we could be,” said County Executive Steuart Pittman. “Face coverings in retail businesses by both shoppers and staff will save lives. I fully support (county health officer) Dr. (Nilesh) Kalyanaraman’s decision to require this protection.”

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The order does not apply to children under two years old or those who could not wear a mask without inhibiting their own health.

Face coverings may be made out of cloth and don’t have to be surgical-grade masks such as N95 masks, which officials said should be for health workers.

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


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The order also requires retail businesses allowed open as essential to limit customer capacity to 50 percent of the normal capacity, maintain six feet between customers at checkout lines, make aisles one-way whenever possible, clearly mark social distancing restrictions, discontinue all self-service food counters, install physical barriers between cashiers and customers and provide access to sanitary restrooms and soap or hand sanitizer for customers and workers.

Anyone who violates this order could be fined up to $500, officials said, and businesses who violate the new policy could be shut down.

Other local jurisdictions have implemented this policy or are looking into doing so, including Baltimore City, whose city council is asking Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young to issue an executive order requiring everyone in the city to wear masks or face coverings while out in public

Montgomery County and Prince George’s County made it mandatory over the weekend.

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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.