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Anne Arundel County issues indoor mask mandate starting Dec. 31

With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continuing to rise, another Maryland county has issued an indoor mask mandate.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman announced an emergency indoor mask mandate will go into effect at noon on Friday, Dec. 31. The mandate applies to all indoor public locations. It will expire on Jan. 7 unless the county council votes for an extension.

“I had hoped we were done with government mandates in our response to COVID, but the current rate of spread and hospitalization is not sustainable, for our hospitals, our schools, our public safety agencies, or our businesses. Masks slow the spread, and it’s time to put them back on,” Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said in a news release.

Anne Arundel joins Baltimore city and Baltimore, Howard, Montgomery, and Prince George’s counties with indoor mask mandates.

According to the release, hospitals in Anne Arundel reported a record-high 191 COVID-19 hospitalizations Wednesday. The county’s case rate hit 109 cases per 100,000 residents per day, also a record.

“Our hospitals are implementing crisis standards of care because they’re taking care of the highest number of Covid patients since the pandemic began. Masks are critical in slowing the spread of Omicron and this order will ensure that everybody is following the same steps to decrease the spread,” Anne Arundel County Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman said.

The order requires masks in all public facilities including retail shops, gyms, houses of worship, restaurants (except when eating) and other locations.