Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) ordered face coverings to be worn when people are inside retail stores such as grocery stores or when riding public transportation in the state.
The order will go into effect Saturday at 7 a.m., Hogan announced Wednesday.
“While this order is an important step in our immediate efforts to protect public health and safety, the wearing of masks is also something that we may all have to become more accustomed to in order to safely reopen our state,” Hogan said at a speech at the State House.
The executive order also requires staff at businesses to wear face coverings and requires those businesses to put appropriate social distancing measures in place.
Face coverings need to fully cover a person’s nose and mouth and can include scarves and bandanas, according to the order.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Maryland surpassed 10,000 and there were 87 new deaths in the past 48 hours bringing the death total in the state to 349, Hogan said.
Despite rising numbers, Hogan said signs are indicating that mitigation measures are starting to make a difference. Hospital rates are showing signs of stabilizing, he said.
Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) made a similar order directing grocery stores to require that customers wear face masks last week.
Hogan said he would be meeting Friday with Bowser and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) to discuss regional issues.