December 2, 2020

Amended Health Directive Includes Guidance on Wearing Face Coverings

Montgomery County Health Officer Travis Gayles has issued an Amended Health Directive that limits indoor gatherings to 10 people and updates the County’s face coverings guidelines.

The directive states that when residents leave their homes, they are required to wear a face covering if they are likely to come in contact with others who are not members of their household. Residents are advised to always carry a face covering with them in case they unexpectedly come in close contact with others.

The directive states that face coverings must be worn in businesses, office buildings and other establishments open to the public.

The directive also clarifies that a face covering is not required if a person is:
  • Actively eating or drinking.
  • Receiving dental services, shaving, facial treatments or other services requiring access to the individual’s face, mouth or head.
  • Swimming or engaged in another physical activity where the use of a face covering would pose a bona fide safety risk.
  • Under the age of 18 and is engaged in vigorous sports—as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability or is physically unable to remove a mask.
  • Unable to wear a face covering because it impedes communication by, or with, persons who have a hearing impairment or other disability where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • At work and the equipment required for the job does not enable wearing a mask or wearing a mask would endanger public safety.
  • Alone in an office or vehicle.
The new face covering guidelines outlined in the health directive are designed to help protect residents and reduce the spread of COVID-19. Residents are strongly urged to wear a mask whenever they are in public places and may encounter others. Whether out walking or jogging, wearing a mask is required when a person likely will be within six feet of someone, even if it is solely in passing.