By Garrett County Joint Information Center Team
Yesterday Governor Hogan announced an executive order which requires the wearing of face coverings when inside any retail or foodservice establishment or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland. The statewide order goes into effect Saturday, April 18, at 7 a.m.
Several counties throughout Maryland had been creating their own face covering policies in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis but, now, with this latest Order, a face covering is a statewide mandate.
The Governor’s Order also requires all retail locations in Maryland to put appropriate social distancing measures in place.
“More than a week ago we issued guidance and the recommendation on the local level for people in Garrett County to wear a cloth face-covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” said Garrett County Health Officer, Bob Stephens. “Now, the Governor has issued an executive order to make face coverings a requirement for both customers and employees in retail or foodservice locations and public transportation across the state.”
Wearing a cloth face covering in public is important because CDC’s studies have shown that people who have no symptoms may still be COVID-19 positive and can unknowingly transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. Governor Hogan’s Order defined “Face Coverings” to mean “a covering that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth, but is not a Medical-Grade Mask. The term “Face Coverings” includes, without limitations, scarves and bandanas.”
Although surgical masks and N-95 respirators meet the face covering requirements, everyone is urged to reserve these specific masks for use by health care workers and first responders.
The internet is full of examples of how to make a face covering from bandanas and t-shirts without sewing. There are also many patterns and designs to sew your own if you are crafty. This link, bit.ly/diy-masks
, goes to the CDC file that gives several suggested ways to make a face covering, explains how to wear it, and how to take care of it. A bandana, a scarf, or a neck gaiter will also work as a mask. Any cloth used as a mask should be routinely washed. A washing machine will sufficiently clean and sterilize them for the next use.
The public is asked to show their support for the safety of Garrett County by wearing a face covering, snapping a selfie, and sharing it to their social media with the tag #CoverGC.