On Wednesday, July 29, 2020, Governor Hogan, at a press conference, announced and issued Executive Order No. 20-07-29-01 , which expands the requirement governing mandatory face coverings in public buildings, to require all individuals over the age of 5 wear face coverings (“face covering” includes, without limitation, scarves, bandanas, and plastic full-face shields) in all public buildings, including churches, office buildings, restaurants, retail establishments, gyms, and casinos. Under previous Orders, face coverings were required only in grocery stores, pharmacies, and in public transit vehicles (buses, trains, taxicabs, paratransit vehicles, and ride-sharing vehicles) The new Executive Order becomes effective as of Friday, July 31, 2020 at 5:00 p. m.
The new restrictions, and out-of-state travel advisories coincide with the Governor’s “pause” on the phased reopening of business and social activities in Maryland. The Governor stated that the new provisions are based on recent contact tracing of the spread of the novel coronavirus in Maryland, which showed that the majority of recent transmissions of the virus have occurred at large family gatherings of individuals not part of the same household, and at large outdoor public gatherings. The new Order also requires face coverings in all public spaces where social distancing (maintaining 6 feet of distance from other individuals) is not possible. Finally, Governor Hogan’s Order includes an advisory against travel to states regarded as coronavirus “hotspots” – states where the proportion of positive coronavirus tests exceeds 10%. Those states include: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina and Texas.
As with each Executive Order, the MSBA will monitor the issuance of any Directives under this Order, from the Secretary of Health, or any further clarification of the Order from the Governor, which generally comes in the form of Interpretive Guidance from the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel.