Maryland Now Requires the Use of Face Coverings and Physical Distancing Measures at Retail Establishments

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Governor Larry Hogan requires the use of face coverings in certain public places and the implementation of physical distancing and public health measures by retail establishments.


  • The use of face coverings in Maryland is mandatory for individuals on any public transportation and while inside retail and foodservice establishments effective as of 7:00 a.m. on April 18, 2020.
  • Retail establishments must implement physical distancing and public health measures to the extent possible.

On April 15, 2020, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued Order No. 20-04-15-01 requiring the use of face coverings when on public transportation or inside of retail or foodservice establishments. The order also requires that retail establishments implement certain physical distancing and public health measures to the extent possible. While the order is effective immediately, the face covering requirement goes into effect at 7:00 a.m. on April 18, 2020. As with prior orders, failure to comply constitutes a misdemeanor subject to imprisonment (not exceeding one year), or fines (not exceeding $5,000), or both.

Use of Face Coverings

The order requires that individuals wear face coverings on any public transportation and while inside retail establishments and foodservice establishments.

Specifically, the following individuals are required to use face coverings:

  • Riders and operators on any public transportation, which includes taxi and ridesharing services;
  • Customers over the age of nine while inside the enclosed area of a retail establishment or foodservice establishment. Adult customers accompanying children age two through nine must use “reasonable efforts” to cause children to wear face coverings while inside such areas;
  • Staff at retail establishments while working in areas open to the general public and areas in which interactions with other staff are likely; and
  • Staff at foodservice establishments who interact with customers (including, without limitation, delivery personnel) while working.

“Foodservice establishments” are defined as establishments in Maryland that sell food on a delivery, carry-out or drive-through basis. Retail establishments are defined below.

The order defines “face covering” as a covering, which includes scarves and bandanas, that fully covers a person’s nose and mouth but that is not a medical-grade mask, e.g., an N95, KN95, surgical or other mask designed for a health care setting. A person may wear a “medical-grade” mask to satisfy this requirement; however, the order recommends reserving such masks for use by health care workers and first responders. The order also goes into detail regarding the proper handling of face coverings, i.e., reusable face coverings should be cleaned frequently (at least once per day) and single-use face coverings must be properly discarded.

Physical Distancing Measures for Retail Establishments

The order requires that retail establishments implement physical distancing and public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Per the order, retail establishments must, to the extent possible:

  • Designate with signage, tape or by other means at least six-foot spacing for persons where any queue is expected to form;
  • Sanitize, or provide customers with a means to sanitize, handles of carts and baskets that are available to customers;
  • Provide staff and customers with clean restrooms stocked with soap or sanitizer, and allow staff to wash their hands at least once every 30 minutes; and
  • Post signage at each entrance advising customers about the requirement to wear face coverings.

This applies to retail businesses, organizations, establishments and facilities in Maryland, including without limitation:

  • Grocery stores, convenience stores, farmer’s markets, and any other establishment engaged in the retail sale of non-prepared food;
  • Pharmacies and other stores that sell medication or medical supplies;
  • Stores that sell supplies for household consumption or use, and/or products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence;
  • Alcoholic beverage stores; and

These measures will remain in place until Maryland’s state of emergency is revoked or until the order is amended or rescinded by a subsequent order. The order suspends any inconsistent statutes, rules, or regulations and authorizes enforcement by state and local law enforcement.

[View source.]

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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