SILVER SPRING, Md. — Some Maryland residents have to get used to a new reality: being forced to wear their masks while out in public.
While many people already perform the task to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan recently mandated that all residents would have to wear masks in public after the state experienced its highest number of hospitalizations in over a month.
"We find ourselves at a fork in the road," Hogan said. "A critical turning point where we could either continue making progress and continue heading in the right direction, or we could ignore the warnings and spike back up like much of the rest of the country."
The new mask order, which went into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, requires all Marylanders over the age of five to wear masks inside businesses, religious facilities, and gyms where the public is typically permitted.
It also says locals must wear masks outdoors when they can't maintain a safe social distance from strangers.
However, the governor's order says locals do not have to wear a mask while eating or drinking.
"Some people are totally irresponsible," Marylander Tamara Teixeira said. "They don’t care about themselves and they don’t care about others.”
On Friday, after the mask order went into effect, WUSA9 saw few people breaking the order in downtown Silver Spring.
There are a few questions as to how the order will be enforced across the state. However, the governor's directive does state that all law enforcement officers are tasked with sanctioning the order. A person who is caught knowingly violating the mask can receive up to a $5,000 fine and up to a year of imprisonment.
Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks also reminded her residents to wear masks Friday. In a statement, she went on to reveal Prince George's County would restrict most gatherings in the county to no more than 50 people.
The County Executive's directive does allow outdoor activities at summer and day camps to have a maximum of 100 people, if a maximum of 10 people per group is maintained. Religious and spiritual gatherings are also limited to one person or family unit per 200 square feet, or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is lower.
"We are not afraid to take decisive action to protect the health and well-being of our residents, and at this point, the data tells us that this new restriction is unfortunately necessary," Alsobrooks stated.