Health Order Requires Masks in Charles County Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, Retail Establishments, and Public Transportation

April 14, 2020

The Board of County Commissioners, in partnership with the Charles County Health Department, announced that beginning Wednesday, April 15, the public will be required to wear face coverings in grocery stores, pharmacies, retail establishments, and public transportation.

The order is aimed at protecting shoppers, employees, drivers, and passengers from the spread of COVID-19. A face covering can be a homemade cloth mask, scarf, bandana, or other means of snugly covering the mouth and nose.

Masks are not advised for children under two years of age, or for people who have difficulty breathing. Masks made for use in health care settings, such as N95 masks, should be reserved for health care workers. Although there is no civil or criminal penalty for shoppers, businesses have the right to turn away customers.

The health order also requires businesses to establish and enforce capacity limits by allowing a smaller number of customers in a store at any given time. Businesses are required to have enough space so customers waiting in line can practice physical distancing of at least six feet.

Businesses must provide face coverings for employees, whether the employees interact with customers or not. Employees should wear face coverings to protect themselves and customers. In addition, employees should be provided with access to clean and sanitary restrooms which are stocked with cleaning products such as soap, water, and hand sanitizer. Employees must be allowed to wash their hands every 30 minutes at a minimum.

Other safety measures aimed at protecting workers and shoppers include implementing physical distancing measures for workers, customers and visitors. Appropriate signage must be displayed. Businesses which use shared equipment, such as baskets or hand carts, are encouraged to provide sanitation equipment, such as disinfectant wipes or alcohol swabs, for individual use. Businesses are also encouraged to install clear, physical barriers between cashiers and customers, where possible.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the county’s COVID-19 website at