ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan signed an executive order Wednesday that will require all Marylanders to wear face coverings while in stores and on public transportation to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The order will go into effect on Saturday at 7 a.m., the governor said.

In Anne Arundel County, an order requiring employees and shoppers to wear face coverings while in stores went into effect Wednesday.

Xama Patel works at Pops Grocery and Deli in Glen Burnie.

“We just told them, ‘Hey, please come back with your mask on.’ As of right now, we haven’t had any problems with anyone,” Patel said.

The store is run by her father, and Patel said she worries about his health.

“Knowing that they could catch the virus and something could go wrong, it’s very scary,” Patel said. “So when they came up with the regulations and rules, we just want to follow it.”

Nilesh Kalyanaraman, Health Officer for Anne Arundel County said, the executive order is important to limit the spread of COVID-19.

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“The reason we are doing this is really to make sure those businesses can safely serve those customers, that’s the foremost goal.” Kalyanaraman said. “If someone is caught without a mask, they will be approached with a conversation first. It’s more about what is the right thing to do then we want to fine people or penalize people, that’s not the spirit of this. The spirit is to keep people safe.”

Shopper Robert Smith said he will do whatever it takes to keep his family safe.

“I’m with whatever will keep us healthy, especially like my parents,” Smith said. “I’m wondering when this will all be over. I never thought I would be seeing a time like this it. It seems like the whole world came to a stop.”

Dr. Chirag Chaudhari, with the Baltimore Washington Medical Center, said just covering your nose and mouth is not enough.

”The front of the mask theoretically is where it’s dirty. You want to make sure you grab it from the straps when you’re putting it on or taking it off and immediately afterwards do a thorough hand-wash to keep yourself clean.”

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.

Rachael Cardin

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