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Alerts and Updates

Maryland Executive Order Requires Face Coverings for Public Transportation, Foodservice and Retail Establishments; Physical Distancing in Retail Spaces

April 16, 2020

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Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the order will be charged with a misdemeanor.

On April 15, 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed an Executive Order requiring Marylanders to wear face coverings under certain circumstances, including when using public transportation and when inside of foodservice and/or retail establishments. The order also requires retail establishments to post signage concerning the face covering requirement and to take other physical distancing measures. Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the order will be charged with a misdemeanor, subject to imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of up to $5,000, or both.

Required Use of Face Coverings

Effective as of 7:00 a.m. on April 18, 2020:

  • All riders and operators on any public transportation must wear face coverings. This excludes any operator in a separate compartment that is off-limits to riders.
  • All customers over the age 9 must wear face coverings while inside the enclosed area of any foodservice or retail establishment.
  • Adult customers accompanying children age 2 through 9 must use “reasonable efforts” to cause such children to wear face coverings while in the enclosed area of any foodservice or retail establishment.
  • All retail establishments must require staff to wear, and those staff must wear, face coverings while working in areas open to the general public and in areas where interactions with other staff are likely.
  • All foodservice establishments must require staff who interact with customers (including but not limited to delivery personnel) to wear, and those staff must wear, face coverings while working.

Single-use face coverings must be discarded in trash receptacles after use. The Executive Order recommends that any reusable face covering be cleaned at least once per day.

Required Signage Regarding Face Coverings and Physical Distancing Measures for Retail Establishments

All retail establishments must, in good faith and to the extent possible:

  • Post signage at every entrance advising customers about the requirement to wear face coverings;
  • With signage, tape or other means, designate at least 6 feet of spacing for people in line where any queue is expected to form;
  • Sanitize or provide customers with a means to sanitize handles of carts and baskets; and
  • Provide staff and customers with clean restrooms stocked with soap and/or sanitizer and allow staff to wash their hands at least once every 30 minutes.

Definitions of Terms in the Order

Under the Executive Order:

  • “Face Covering” means a covering that fully covers the nose and mouth, but is not a medical-grade mask (i.e., is not an N95, KN95, surgical, or other mask that would be appropriate for a healthcare setting), including without limitation scarves and bandanas. While wearing a medical-grade mask satisfies the requirements of the Executive Order, Marylanders are urged to reserve medical-grade masks for use by healthcare workers and first responders.
  • “Public Transportation” means shared-ride transportation services that are open to the general public, such as taxi services, ride-sharing services, car services and transit services provided by any other unit of the state or political subdivision. Examples of public transportation include but are not limited to MTA bus service, MARC train service, Light Rail service, MTA Metro subway service and Mobility/Paratransit service.
  • “Foodservice Establishment” means an establishment that sells food on a delivery, carry-out or drive-through basis.
  • “Retail Establishment” means retail businesses, organizations, establishments, and facilities such as: (i) grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, and any other establishment not engaged in the retail sale of nonprepared food; (ii) pharmacies and other stores that sell medication or medical supplies; (iii) stores that sell supplies for household consumption or use and/or products needed to maintain safety, sanitation and essential maintenance of the home or residence; (iv) alcoholic beverage stores; and (v) laundromats.

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For More Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Robert B. Hopkins, Carla N. Murphy, Allison M. Midei, any of the attorneys in our Baltimore office, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney in the firm with whom you are in regular contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.