Prince George's County resident Josh Rohrer received an unexpected lesson when police approached him on Wednesday while tutoring his 7-year-old daughter in the Largo Kettering library.
Rohrer was informed that he was violating the library's indoor mask mandate. Cellphone video shows officers telling the father, "You can either put the mask on or go somewhere else and tutor."
Rohrer had received conflicting information when he called the Prince George's County executive's office to clarify whether libraries were included when the indoor mask mandate was lifted countywide.
"They said, 'Look, if they say anything to you, show them a copy of this press release,'" Rohrer said. "I'm arguing with the police; I'm arguing with the librarians. Come to find out that the county told me wrong information."
The Prince George's County Memorial Library System is a quasi-state entity and exempt from the county's decision. The CEO, board of trustees and workers union will decide when the libraries will lift mask mandates.
Library spokesperson Nicholas Brown says that the mandate remains in place to protect unvaccinated customers, specifically children under five. There are private study rooms available.
Rohrer was eventually escorted from the library, and while no arrests were made, both Rohrer and the library spokesperson agree that this moment of miscommunication could have been handled differently.
"We are working with the county exec's team to make sure that they have all the information we are putting out to our customers," Brown said.
Brown said that update messaging explicitly stating that libraries are one of the exceptions to the countywide mask mandate lift went out on Thursday.