BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Anne Arundel County is issuing an indoor mask mandate in response to the recent surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations, County Executive Steuart Pittman said Thursday.

The mandate, which applies to all indoor public spaces in Anne Arundel County, is set to go into effect starting at noon on New Year’s Eve. Barring an extension by the County Council, it will remain in place until Jan. 7.

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“I had hoped we were done with government mandates in our response to COVID, but the current rate of spread and hospitalization is not sustainable, for our hospitals, our schools, our public safety agencies, or our businesses. Masks slow the spread, and it’s time to put them back on,” Pittman said.

Hospitals in Anne Arundel County are treating a record 191 patients for COVID-19 as the county’s positivity rate has reached 21%, surpassing 20% for the first time since April 2020, according to figures provided by the county.

“Please please please, just wear the damn mask,” Pittman said.

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Anne Arundel joins Baltimore and Howard counties, which previously introduced indoor mask mandates in an effort to relieve burdens on hospitals and curb the spread of COVID-19. Baltimore County’s mandate began Wednesday, and Howard County’s on Sunday.

The mandate covers retail stores, gyms, houses of worship and restaurants, among other establishments. Some exceptions exist — for instance, while someone is eating at a restaurant.

 

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CBS Baltimore Staff