As coronavirus cases surge at an “alarming rate,” Montgomery County has issued a new order requiring people to wear face masks at all times outdoors and inside public places.
Indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people are also prohibited.
Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced the new restrictions that took effect 5 p.m. Tuesday.
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Neither face shields alone nor a face covering with a valve will fulfill the mask requirement.
Gayles said family and group gatherings are linked to many COVID-19 infections.
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"We're already breaking daily records," Gayles said. "When we were at these levels before, everything was closed down and so, in terms of thinking about the potential risk of transmission, we didn’t have to worry about that as much as we do now."
A few measures remain the same: Businesses are still subject to the 25% or 25 patron occupancy limit. Outdoor gatherings are capped at 25 people.
“We are entering a phase of COVID-19 that is very worrisome, and we need every resident to understand what that means,” Gayles said in a press release.
Starting Wednesday, Maryland State Police will fan out across the state,
beefing up enforcement of Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency orders at bars, restaurants and private venues.
"We're focusing on the large super spreader events. This is not about trying to chase down each individual and violate anybody’s constitutional beliefs or rights or First Amendment activity. It's really about reducing the risk of the virus," Maryland State Police Sgt. Travis Nelson said.