Charles County Board of Commissioners Moves Up Public Hearing on Face Coverings

December 29, 2021

Hearing Rescheduled to Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, at 4:30 p.m.

On Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021, the Board of Commissioners, held an emergency meeting in response to the alarming rise in COVID-19 transmissions affecting Charles County.

At the meeting, they reintroduced Ordinance 2021-22 as emergency legislation and voted to reschedule the Jan. 12, 2022 Public Hearing on Required Face Coverings to Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, beginning at 4:30 p.m. 

This decision was made after receiving an update from Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney, who shared the latest COVID-19 statistics which revealed a significant increase in positivity, case rates and hospitalizations in the county. She stated that wearing a face covering is an important mitigation effort to protect the health, welfare, and safety of all residents and recommended that Commissioners act urgently on this issue. The Commissioners decided to move up the public hearing on requiring face coverings based upon Dr. Abney’s update.

This Board of Commissioners will sit as the Board of Health and consider this ordinance as emergency legislation. No substantive changes have been made to the language of this ordinance since it was announced. Following the hearing, the Board of Commissioners will vote on the ordinance and must have a supermajority vote of 4-1 or unanimous vote to adopt it. If adopted, the ordinance will become effective immediately and expire in 45 days, unless extended by the Board of Commissioners.

The public hearing has been changed from an in-person meeting to being held only virtually. The public will have the option to provide comment through a video link or by phone. Prior to the public hearing, Charles County Public Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney will provide an update on COVID-19 statistics and data on current positivity rate, cases, and hospitalizations in Charles County.

The public is invited to provide comments by choosing one of the following options:

  • To speak during the Commissioner meeting, call 301-885-2779 on Jan. 4, 2022, between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to register. Registrants need to be available between 4:30 p.m.–9 p.m. to testify. If you are not available, we will move to the next speaker.
  • Provide a E-comment at
  • Call 301-645-0652 to leave a message.
  • Written Comment to Commissioners of Charles County, 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, Maryland 20646
  • Residents with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service TDD 1-800-735-2258.

The Health Department urges all individuals ages 5 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are unvaccinated, seek a vaccine booster if you are eligible, and get tested if you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or are exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

To decrease the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Abney also made the following recommendations:


  • Do not congregate
  • Smaller gatherings (outdoor events when possible)
  • Postpone or cancel large events


  • Require patrons to wear masks
  • Provide masks for patrons who do not have one
  • Have employees wear masks correctly and consistently to model best practices
  • Allow remote work
  • Ensure sick employees can stay home (when possible)

Viewing Option for Today’s meetingclick here.

Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney  briefing: click here.

Draft of Charles County Ordinance No. 2021-22: click here

Next Commissioners Session and Public Hearing: Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 (held virtually)

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.