Calvert County Board of Commissioners Clarify “Assigned Shopping Days by Last Name”

April 15, 2020

UPDATE 4/15/2020: The Board of County Commissioners seeks to clarify recent news reports about restrictions on local shopping, specifically the days which consumers may shop in grocery stores.

The public is advised there are currently no restrictions in Calvert County, Maryland. Citizens may continue to shop at their convenience.

Confusion arose when the Calvert County Health Department issued suggested consumer guidance regarding grocery store shopping days on their website to help local grocers minimize the number of people in grocery stores.

Calvert County citizens and businesses should be aware that this was simply a suggested practice by the Calvert County Health Department.

Official Calvert County Health Department Press Release: We are now settling into a new normal. A normal that has greatly and uncomfortably limited our social contact. It’s gotten to the point that kids actually want to go to school, and adults want to sit in cubicles. For most, there’s not much difference between Saturday and Wednesday. And going to the grocery store has shifted from an occasional trip to get necessities to a frequent excuse for getting out of the house.

As a result of chronic overcrowding in grocery and convenience stores, as well as some other retailers, the Health Department has acted on Governor Hogan’s directive to institute new policies to decrease virus transmission. It is strongly recommended that both customers and employees wear basic face masks. People will not be denied food if they refuse to wear a mask, but we ask that everyone place the needs of medically vulnerable neighbors above their personal preferences.

A previous post has instructions and links on how to make your own reusable masks (

Starting Thursday, stores will be required to properly disinfect all shopping carts or make antiseptic wipes available to customers at the entrance. People waiting in lines at deli counters, checkouts, and other spots in and outside of stores must space at least 6 feet apart. Employees must be allowed to wear face masks and have an opportunity to wash their hands each hour.
Finally, occupancy of retailers will be limited to 5 people per 1,000 square feet.

This is consistent with current policies of Walmart, Giant, and other private corporations as they aim to protect their customers and employees from coronavirus. If people limit their trips to their pre-pandemic habits, this limitation would not be necessary.

For your health, the health of your family members, and the safety of all those in our community, the health department asks that you voluntarily limit trips for groceries to once every 5 days on the following schedule:

  • Last name starting with A-C shop on dates ending with 0 and 5
  • Last name starting with D-G shop on dates ending with 1 and 6
  • Last name starting with H-L shop on dates ending with 2 and 7
  • Last name starting with M-R shop on dates ending with 3 and 8
  • Last name starting with S-Z shop on dates ending with 4 and 9

We all want to get back to our normal lives as soon as possible. Our actions make a difference. Sustaining those actions are the key to lowering our risk of infection and lifting social restrictions. We can’t speed up time, but we can dramatically slow the spread of the virus.

Remember the words of Hippocrates, fittingly taken from the work Of the Epidemics, “First, do no harm.” Limit your trips to the store. Wear a face mask over your mouth and nose while in public. Leave space between yourself and others. Take care of yourself. Take care of your neighbors.