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VERIFY: Who's in charge of enforcing mask rules in the DMV?

Our Verify team looked at how rules about wearing masks inside businesses are being enforced in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

WASHINGTON — QUESTION:

Is anyone responsible for enforcing mask rules in the DMV?

ANSWER:

Yes.

SOURCES:

Ron Snyder- Maryland State Police 

Julie Grimes- Virginia Department of Health

Governor Hogan Executive Order 20-04-15-01

Governor Northam Executive Order 63

Susana Castillo- Spokesperson for Mayor Bowser

PROCESS:

With so many businesses requiring a face covering, a viewer asked us to verify if anyone is responsible for enforcing mask rules in the DMV. 

In Virginia, it's up to the Virginia Department of Health, according to an executive order from Gov. Ralph Northam.

A spokesperson at the department of health, told us if there’s an egregious violation, the health department can enforce through a court-issued civil injunction or summons and warrant, which are punishable as a Class One misdemeanor. 

The health department said its primary focus is educating the public, not punishment. The spokesperson said she isn’t aware of the department issuing any injunctions, summons or warrants to enforce masks so far.

"If you are at a business where customers are violating the order, you should first talk to the business owner," Julie Grimes, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Health, said. "If that doesn’t work, you can call 1-877-ASK-VDH3. Again, we are focused on education, and ask everyone to be part of the solution as we adjust to this new normal."

In Maryland, enforcement is up to state and local police, according to an executive order from Gov. Larry Hogan.

Our Verify researchers reached out to a spokesperson for the Maryland State Police. 

They didn’t break it down by mask violations, but said that between March 24 and June 14, all law enforcement in Maryland collectively responded to 3,809 calls in relation to the governor’s executive orders. They also conducted 39,680 compliance checks, and arrested or charged 121 people.

A spokesperson for Mayor Muriel Bowser's office told the Verify team that in the District, enforcement is up to the businesses themselves, and that retailers and restaurants have the authority to enforce mask compliance.

So we can Verify that in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia there are groups responsible for enforcing masks, but the entity in charge varies across the DMV.

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