As Maryland and other states across the nation see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced today, Tuesday, July 21, that Health Officer Gregory Branch has issued a new public health order requiring the use of masks for everyone over the age of 2 in all indoor public spaces. Dr. Branch also encouraged the use of face coverings in outdoor public spaces where social distancing is not possible. The new mandate goes into effect Thursday (7/23).
“The advice of scientific experts is clear: face coverings work. This commonsense step will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “I want to thank our neighbors and businesses who continue to take the necessary steps to keep our loved ones safe. We must all do our part, or we risk jeopardizing the progress we’ve made together.”
Despite current prevention measures, Baltimore County is experiencing the highest seven-day average of 97 community cases per day—exceeding the previous peak of 94 cases per day over a seven-day period in May. Meanwhile, Baltimore County’s positivity rate has increased since July 7 to 5.92 percent, demonstrating continued community transmission of COVID-19. On Sunday, Maryland saw the largest number of cases reported in a single day in nearly two months.
The new face covering measures will go into effect at 9 am this Thursday. Residents over the age of 2 are asked to wear a mask in all indoor public establishments including retail stores and houses of worship.
In addition to the face covering mandate, an order was issued that would allow the Baltimore County Health Officer to issue a warning or even shut down any business that does not comply with the public health mandates or demonstrates risk of exacerbating the spread of the coronavirus.
Olszewski also called on Governor Hogan to reconsider indoor dining spaces, limiting bars and restaurants to outdoor and takeaway or delivery service.
For more information, visit Baltimore County’s website.
It should be noted that the statewide face mask mandate issued by Governor Hogan is still in effect, but local jurisdictions are responsible for setting their own guidance. Some counties have recently issued their own mandates to reinforce the requirement as their case numbers have increased.