BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ) — Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot is reinstating a mask requirement for his agency’s offices, citing the ongoing threat posed by COVID-19.

The policy change, effective Thursday, comes as the Maryland Department of Health reported nearly 1,400 new cases of COVID-19 and 17 additional deaths while hospitalizations held steady at 792.

READ MORE: Investigation Ongoing Into Vacant Home Fire That Killed 3 Baltimore Firefighters

It applies to both employees and visitors while they’re indoors at the comptroller’s facilities in any public settings and areas such as hallways, restrooms and shared offices. It does not apply to employees who are alone in private offices.

READ MORE: Businesses Owners On The Block Protest Proposal To Close Establishments On The Street By 10 P.M.

The reinstatement of the indoor mask requirement comes days after Franchot announced the agency’s 12 branch locations would only be open to Marylanders who schedule appointments in advance.

“With the continued threat of COVID-19, the safety of our employees and the public is paramount,” Franchot said. “This simple preventative measure can help stop others from getting sick so that we can finally overcome this terrible pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of American lives.”

MORE NEWS: Shooting At Towson Student-Centered Apartment Building Under Investigation

The following government buildings fall under the mask policy: the Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Building, the Revenue Administration Building, the Annapolis Data Center, the Comptroller’s Baltimore Office, regional branch offices, satellite offices and the Motor Fuel Laboratory.

CBS Baltimore Staff