GLEN BURNIE, Md. (WJZ) — After the Anne Arundel County Council voted not to renew a previous mask mandate Friday, the health officer created a new public safety order requiring masks both inside and outside where social distancing is not possible.

Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, the health officer, calls the requirement essential to decrease the heavy burden hospitals are now under here.

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“How do you slow the spread of a virus? By implementing a proven practice which is a mask mandate,” County Executive Steuart Pittman said.

The order comes after the council voted not to renew Pittman’s order that required face coverings.

“I don’t understand why three of our council would put their politics and their concerns about the next election over the health of our residents,” Pittman said.

A state law allows Kalyanaraman to make the rule, Pittman said.

People who spoke with WJZ on Saturday agreed that it was the right move to keep the masks on.

“I think it’s a good idea just because it limits the spread,” said Antonio Matthews of Baltimore.

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Said Nicole Kelly of Linthicum: “This shouldn’t be an issue. It’s a mask. No one’s telling you (that) you can’t go places. No one’s saying that you can’t live your life. Just live it safe.”

Meanwhile in Howard County, more Marylanders have been trying to get tested for COVID as more testing sites open up.

Many stood in line in the cold Saturday morning at the Bland Air Bus Loop in Columbia to try to see if they contracted the virus.

“Just have symptoms and want to make sure whether its COVID or just a regular cold,” a woman named Rachel said.

And the mask order in Anne Arundel County is in effect until January 31.

 

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Stetson Miller