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Thursday, 16 April 2020

Possible ‘Imprisonment’ Or Fine Of Up To $5,000 For Violating Maryland’s Executive Order On Face Coverings

On Wednesday, during a COVID-19 press briefing, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced an executive order requiring citizens of the state to wear face masks or coverings while out in various public locations.
Violation of the order could be punishable with a hefty fine or even prison time, according to the text.
The order states that “a person who knowingly and willfully violates this Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.”
Today I enacted an executive order which will require the wearing of masks or face coverings when inside any retail establishments, including grocery stores and pharmacies, or when riding any form of public transportation in Maryland, effective Saturday, April 18, at 7 a.m.
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It also requires all essential retail locations to require their staff to wear face coverings, and requires those businesses to put appropriate social distancing measures in place in order to keep customers and their staff safe.
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During the briefing, Governor Hogan stated in part:
A few moments ago, I signed an executive order which will require the wearing of masks or face coverings when inside any retail establishments, including grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores, or when riding on any form of public transportation in Maryland. It also requires all essential retail locations to require their staff to wear face coverings and requires those businesses to put into place appropriate social distancing measures in order to keep their customers and their staff safe. To give these retailers time to make these adjustments, this order will go into effect beginning Saturday at 7 a.m.
Hogan went on to “commend a few of our hotspots for having already taken some of these actions in their local jurisdictions.” The governor then pointed to the CDC for guidance on how to make a face covering.
“The wearing of masks is also something that we may have to become more accustomed to in order to safely reopen our state,” Hogan added.
The pertinent text of the executive order reads:
Use of Face Coverings.
a. Effective as of 7:00 a.m. on April 18, 2020:
i. all riders and operators on any Public Transportation are required to wear Face Coverings (excluding any operator in a separate compartment that is off-limits to riders);
ii. all customers over the age of nine are required to wear Face Coverings while inside the enclosed area of any Retail Establishment or Foodservice Establishment;
iii. adult customers accompanying children age two through nine shall use reasonable efforts to cause those children to wear Face Coverings while inside the enclosed area of any Retail Establishment or Foodservice Establishment;
iv. all Retail Establishments shall require staff to wear, and those staff shall wear, Face Coverings while working in areas open to the general public and areas in which interactions with other staff are likely; and
v. all Foodservice Establishments shall require staff who interact with customers (including, without limitation, delivery personnel) to wear, and those staff shall wear, Face Coverings while working.
b. Single-use Face Coverings shall be properly discarded in trash receptacles. It is recommended that all reusable Face Coverings be cleaned frequently (at least once per day).
The EO also requires “retail establishments” to try to create space between customers in lines, offer sanitizing products for carts and baskets, allow employees to wash their hands every half hour, and post signs to make sure customers understand the rules.

As noted above, near the bottom of the EO, it reads: “A person who knowingly and willfully violates this Order is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding $5,000 or both.”

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