An indoor mask requirement is returning to Howard County, Maryland, as much of the D.C. region repositions itself as the omicron variant gains a foothold in the area.
County Executive Calvin Ball signed an executive order on Thursday requiring masks be worn indoors in all businesses, facilities available to the public and public transportation. The order takes effect on Sunday at 5 p.m.
“With the rapidly multiplying number of COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron and Delta variants, positivity rates in double digits, and increases in hospitalization, this is a necessary step to further protect our residents,” Ball said in a statement announcing the order. “Being vaccinated, getting a booster, and wearing a mask are the three best ways to protect yourself and those around you.”
County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman said the highly contagious nature of the omicron variant makes masking an important tool in curbing the spread of the virus.
“Masks are a simple and effective tool we can all use to help limit the spread of COVID-19 in our community as we continue to observe an increase in cases across Howard County,” Rossman said in a statement.
The release said getting a booster once eligible is an important step to preventing serious disease as a result of catching the virus. The county reports that 87% of residents are fully vaccinated, and 95% have received at least one dose.
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