ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — Montgomery County officials announced Tuesday they will now require masks in all public spaces outdoors, not just when you cannot social distance.

County officials tightened coronavirus restrictions as cases are spiking statewide. In addition to requiring masks in both indoor and outdoor public spaces, they are also limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people.

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Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced that the new order would be effective 5 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 24.

The order comes as officials worry families could gather in large groups for the holidays.

“We are entering a phase of COVID-19 that is very worrisome, and we need every resident to understand what that means,” said Dr. Gayles. “It is critical that each one of us takes this directive seriously and does our part to slow the spread. Contact tracing data indicates that family and group gatherings are where a significant number of the state’s cases are occurring. It is extremely important that each of us thinks about our collective responsibility to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. The cases counts are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, and we need to take more drastic steps to reduce transmission.”

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The new provision does not apply to businesses, establishments and facilities that are permitted to operate as outlined in Executive Order 122-20, which permits up to 25 percent occupancy or 25 people, whichever is lower. Outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people continue to be prohibited.

There were 213 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montgomery County as reported Nov. 23 by the Maryland Department of Health. This is an increase of more than 2,000 cases in the past week.  Montgomery County has now had more than 30,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 890 deaths.

Learn more here. 

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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.

CBS Baltimore Staff