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New face mask requirements slated to start this week in two Maryland counties

The requirements will be in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. — Starting this week, all shoppers will be required to wear face masks or coverings at grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail establishments in Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.

The requirement will go into effect on Monday for Montgomery County and the requirement for Prince George’s County will begin on Wednesday. In Prince George’s County, masks will also be required on the county’s public transit system.

Workers in the retail stores will also be required to wear masks, and limits will be established on the number of customers that can be in a store at one time.

These requirements are similar to what D.C. previously instated and what the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended to combat COVID-19.

RELATED: DC mayor: All grocery store shoppers must wear face masks

“Tomorrow may look different, you know today already looks different from last week that looks different from a few weeks ago,” Travis Gayles, Montgomery County Health Officer, said. “We want to make sure that folks at home, understand that we are constantly reviewing things and trying to get the most up to date information so that we know, or we can feel confident that we have put into place.”

The CDC said that although this is a tool to combat the virus, it is not perfect protection, which Gayles echoed when he spoke to WUSA9 on Wednesday.

“That can provide an extra barrier from expelling virus and shedding virus into the world,” said Gayles. 

Gayles told WUSA9 that masks are not a reason to relax frequent hand-washing or social distancing at places such as grocery stores and pharmacies.

CDC guidelines said you should use homemade masks from cloth so medical-grade masks are freed up for health workers.

RELATED: How to make your own face mask without a sewing machine

“I want to make sure that people understand that because we do recognize that there are issues in terms of supply and availability of masks, as defined by N95 or surgical mask those kinds of things,” Gayle said. “What we're saying is some type of face covering that covers your mouth and nose, and that can be some type of cloth covering. It can also be a makeshift provision, made from household supplies such as bandannas, and t-shirt.”

What precautions should you take?

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wear a mask if you have to make an essential trip outside
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol if soap and water are unavailable.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Reasons to leave your home under stay-at-home order:

  • Grocery store trips
  • Medical visits or trips to the pharmacy
  • Travel to your essential job
  • Exercise: Such as walks, hikes or bike rides

Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

If you are sick or suspect you are infected, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends taking the followings steps:

  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Avoid public areas, including work or school
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home
  • Contact your doctor via telemedicine for more guidance

Download the brand new WUSA9 app here.

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