Councilmembers Introduce Legislation Requiring Face Coverings in Public Spaces

Councilmember Hans Riemer is one of the lead sponsors of the regulation to require face masks in public spaces. Albornoz, to Riemer’s right, is the other lead sponsor.

Montgomery County Councilmembers announced plans to introduce regulations for the Board of Heath which would require employees and customers of essential businesses to wear face coverings. Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Gabe Albornoz are the lead sponsors, and Council President Sidney Katz, Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Evan Glass all cosponsored the legislation.

The regulation would be implemented in two phases, according to a press release from the county council. On April 16, essential businesses such as grocery stores and hardware stores would be required to provide face coverings for employees who work on site. These employees would be required to wear the face coverings while interacting with customers or other workers.

“Workers at grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores and other essential businesses are putting their lives at risk to keep us all fed and cared for during this emergency,” said Riemer in the press release. “We must do everything we can to protect them. Combined with keeping our distance, staying home as much as possible, and washing our hands, wearing a mask helps protect both the wearer and those around them.”

County Executive Marc Elrich and Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine recently announced that all county employees will be provided face coverings and asked to wear the face coverings while performing essential duties.

“The same protection should be afforded to all essential workers,” the press release said.

On April 23, customers will be required to wear face coverings while visiting essential businesses.

“We have a chance to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives by requiring face masks in public,” Albornoz said in the press release. “This virus is a stealthy adversary, being passed by people who have no symptoms to those around them. Covering our faces in public is just good common sense.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently released guidelines asking the public to wear face coverings  “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies).” Face coverings include most cloth covers and can be made at home, according to CDC guidelines.

The regulation will be introduced and voted on at the Council’s virtual meeting on Tuesday, April 14.

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