Montgomery County Government has issued a clarification of the face coverings guidelines in an Amended Health Directive issued this week, based on county residents’ questions.
When residents leave their homes, they are required to wear a face-covering when they are likely to contact others who are not members of their household. As a precaution, the county advises residents to carry a face covering with them if they unexpectedly come in close contact with others.
- Face coverings must be worn in businesses, office buildings, and other establishments open to the public.
A face covering is not required if you are:
- Actively eating or drinking.
- Receiving dental services, shaving, or facial treatments or receiving another service needing access to your face, mouth, or head.
- Swimming or engaged in another physical activity where the use of a face-covering would pose a bona fide safety risk.
- Under the age of 18 and are involved in vigorous sports – as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
- Unable to wear a face-covering due to a medical condition or disability, or are physically unable to remove a mask.
- Unable to wear a face-covering because it impedes communication by, or with, persons who have a hearing impairment or other disability, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
- At work, and the job’s equipment does not enable you to wear a mask, or wear a mask would endanger public safety.
- Alone in your office or vehicle.
Earlier this week, Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced that effective 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, indoor gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. As part of the order, face coverings are required outdoors and indoors in public facilities.
The announcement came a day after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced new COVID-19 restriction compliance, education, and enforcement operations in Silver Spring and other nightlife hotspots around the state.
County Executive Marc Elrich this week called for a return to Phase 1 of COVID-19 restrictions: “Need to go back to Phase 1. We’re in danger of overwhelming hospitals, the projections for MD aren’t good — small steps won’t bend the curve in the right direction. We need the new Admin to get real assistance to businesses that bear this load. It’s not blue or red; it’s all of us.”