County Covid Testing

The Frederick County Health Department’s mobile free COVID-19 units was set up in the parking lot of the Frederick Towne Mall.

The Frederick County Board of Health passed new regulations regarding COVID-19 Thursday night amid dramatically rising numbers at both the state and county levels. However, what these new regulations mean has been somewhat unclear. Here are seven things you need to know before the regulations go into effect at 5 p.m. Friday:

1. You still need to wear your mask. The only thing that's changed is a new fine for not wearing one. 

The new regulation brought some confusion regarding whether residents need to wear masks outdoors at all times. The new regulations state all people above the age of 5 must wear a face covering -- as per Gov. Larry Hogan's executive order -- in all indoor public spaces. It also states masks must be worn outside when a person cannot reasonably maintain six feet of distance from others who are not a member of your household

Yes, you can still take your mask off at restaurants when eating or drinking. Yes, you can still take your mask off if everyone at your backyard bonfire are sitting 6 feet away. But you should wear a mask while walking in congested public areas, such as Market and Patrick streets in downtown Frederick. 

You can now be fined for not wearing a face mask. First-time offenders can be fined $250, second-time offenders $375 and a third offense or any subsequent offense can bring a fine of $500. 

2. Gyms are limited to 25 percent capacity and masks must be worn. 

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) limited gyms to a 50 percent capacity back in June, but this new county regulation cuts that in half. Gyms have been named one of the most likely places for transmission to occur in a study by top scholars, in addition to restaurants and hotels. 

3. Houses of worship are limited to 50 percent capacity.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship were previously increased to 75 capacity by Gov. Larry Hogan on Sept. 1, when he rolled out Stage Three. 

4. Gatherings and events of more than 25 people are banned

Any gathering or event, including parties, parades, receptions, festivals, conventions and fundraisers are not to exceed 25 people. You can also receive a fine for violating this regulation. 

5. Breweries, bars and event venues capped at 25 percent ONLY for events.

This one has led to confusion for many. Gov. Hogan's order capped restaurants and bars at 50 percent capacity. (More about restaurants below). But a line in the county regulations states that bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, night clubs and event venues must not exceed 25 percent capacity or 25 people, whichever is less. That only permits to when those businesses have events. The county's attorney, Bryon Block, explained via text message: "B(1)(a) applies to events at those businesses. It isn't intended to prohibit normal day to day business for any of them."

6. Retail, service and restaurant capacities have not changed. Restaurants at 50 percent.

Retail establishments are still capped at 75 percent capacity, while service establishments (e.g. salons, barber shops) are capped at 50 percent capacity. Restaurants are still capped at 50 percent capacity as per Gov. Hogan's executive order.

7. More regulations might be coming soon.

The regulation stipulates that county Health Officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer can further restrict these regulations if Frederick County's seven-day rolling case rate per 100,000 persons exceeds 20. For context, today's average is 18.88. That's a significant upward trend from Sunday's average of 14.15. 

These additional regulations would include capping retail establishments at 50 percent, prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people and restricting athletic activities. 

Follow Erika Riley on Twitter: @ej_riley

(31) comments

micky

Don't fret, this will all go away on 1/20/2021 !!

Piedmontgardener

I thought you folks said Nov 4.

Nicki

Lol, Piedmont-- they did say Nov 4.

BornToHula2

[thumbup]

DMSchobel

The County Attorney is Bryon Black, not "Block".

TomWheatley

Nice cover photo. So COVID-19 started in Baltimore? Who knew?

KellyAlzan

Huge technical legal issue here.

It would be nearly impossible for anyone to prove to the court that me and my friends were less than 6’ apart.

Jprincler

Police don't need to prove in a court that they witnessed you committing a ticketable offense. They will simply issue you a ticket.

bnick467

An officer testifying in a court of law would be considered "proof". But try for once to be realistic in your fantasy world: police officers would politely ask you wear your mask or spread apart before whipping out their citation book. You would only find yourself in court if you acted like a petulant child and refused to either stand farther apart or wear a mask. But if you feel like that's a battle worth fighting, you go ahead and give it a whirl. Let us know what the judge says.

dougmerson

[thumbup] Exactly! It's not like we love wearing masks, nobody does. People need to stop acting like little children, and start acting like responsible adults. Otherwise, this virus is never going to be contained.

sevenstones1000

Get a grip. This is an issue of decency. You know the guidelines. Now follow them and quit worrying about what can be proved in court.

gary4books

"me?" or "I?" And really it does not matter in fact. People in China fifteen feet apart were infected. It is just an "educated guess." Do try to be safe. Nobody wants you to be ill.

FyremanEd

Nah, my backyard is not “public space”. So pound sand.

gramps

Exactly!!

shiftless88

And this is why case numbers continue to climb.

gramps

Case numbers do not mean death rates. The death rate has not increased at the same rate. But facts don’t fit the narrative...

Jprincler

An increase in deaths from covid can take weeks while the patients suffer. Some have taken months before they die. Patients don't test positive and then immediate. It's a process, not a light switch.

awteam2000

175,000 new cases today... So far over 10.5 million positive cases, 245,000 fatalities since March. Worst in the World.

Gramps, hospitalization is at its highest, causing lack of care for other illnesses. More and more medical workers are testing positive, putting their lives at risk and stretching medical resources to their limits. Shortly, there won’t be enough medical workers to care for your selfish a... Demand for ICU beds are exceeding limits.

What will be the effects over the long term? Will your grandkids die prematurely four - five years from now by being infected this year? Will you? Your wife? Some stranger because of your contemptuous lack of following safety guide lines. Are you willing to risk it?

threecents

The death rates and hospitalization rates have been increasing in Maryland and most of the rest of the country. They has not been increasing as fast as the new cases rate because the health care system knows better how to deal with it, and younger people are much more often infected than they were early on. 50,000+ COVID-19 deaths in the US just since the last presidential debate, and it is only getting worse, especially with the holidays coming.

MD1756

So, Gramps, as long as you don't kill anyone, its ok to potentially make then sick (short or long term) because you refuse to take simple steps to reduce the spread of the virus?

FyremanEd

👍🏻

shiftless88

gramps; yes the death rates have decreased because we have learned more about treating this virus. But note that hospitalization numbers and deaths are again increasing. A 9/11 every two days

FyremanEd

No it’s because of unnecessary testing. Unless your symptomatic there is no need for a test. Many that are tested and found positive require 0 medical attention but the number pads the stats. Why don’t the post then number tested vs the number of positive results that is the true numbers. A virus with a 98% survivable rate is really good considering the flue rate is much lower and there is a vaccine that people still won’t get for FREE.

Greg F

Good...but if a public venue don’t be stupid...or even in your backyard with others.

FrederickFan

No one has said your backyard is public space. What are you talking about?

FyremanEd

👇🏻

Jprincler

The order refers to INDOOR public spaces and ANY outdoor space. Your yard is definitely included in that description.

threecents

[thumbup]JP, Right, no parties or similar gatherings of more than 25 people - inside or outside.

stevemckay

That’s incorrect. The mask restrictions only apply to public spaces, indoor or outdoor.

sevenstones1000

And Ed does not care about the people who come into his backyard. That’s a good thing for your friends to know, Ed.

FyremanEd

If your that scared, stay away.

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