Grocery Shoppers Will be Required to Wear Masks at Stores

Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles announced Thursday that shoppers are required to wear masks or face coverings in grocery stores, pharmacies, and large retail stores, such as Costco or Sam’s Club. This will take effect starting Monday, April 13.

Retailers are required to limit the number of shoppers in the store at a time. Lines outside a store must practice social distancing while waiting to enter the store.

Dr. Gayles said in a statement, “We are working on many fronts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Protecting shoppers and store employees is critical.”

Children under two years of age and people who have difficulty breathing should not wear masks. Masks made for use in health care settings should be reserved for health care workers. Cloth masks may be used to cover one’s mouth and nose.

Stores must provide employees with access to clean restrooms stocked with soap and sanitizer. They must allow employees to wash their hands at least every 30 minutes. Employees must be allowed to wear masks or face coverings.

Other safety measures aimed at protecting workers and shoppers include implementing physical distancing measures for workers, customers, and visitors. Appropriate signage and markings to reinforce social distancing and spacing must be displayed.  Businesses who use shared equipment, such as baskets or hand carts, are encouraged to provide sanitation equipment such as disinfectant wipes or alcohol swabs, for individual use.  Businesses are also encouraged to install clear physical barriers between cashiers and customers, where possible.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order on Monday, March 30.  All residents must remain in their homes unless they are essential employees traveling to or from work, obtaining food or medicine or seeking urgent medical care.

The County reminds the public to practice the following safety guidelines:

  • Be sure to say at least six feet away from anyone who is not a member of your household.
  • Avoid gathering in groups.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using standard cleaning practices.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, your sleeve, or your elbow.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home except to get medical care.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website

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