Masks required on Ocean City boardwalk starting Friday at 5 p.m.


Heather Curtis

WASHINGTON (WMAL) –  If you’re going to the Ocean City boardwalk, don’t forget to pack your mask with your sunscreen and shorts. Starting at 5 p.m. Friday you’ll have to wear one on the boardwalk and at special events. Under Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan’s emergency declaration, anyone older than five will have to wear a mask on the boardwalk from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

“The purpose behind this, which the council and the mayor have always supported, is public safety. That’s the number one concern,” Meehan said at a city council meeting Friday.

This expands on Gov. Larry Hogan’s order, which was enacted as some COVID-19 trends in the state move in the wrong direction. Hogan’s order also goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and requires masks be worn in all indoor public areas, and in outdoor public areas where it’s not possible to practice social distancing.

Mayor Rick Meehan said in a press release, “Following the governor’s expanded statewide masking order announced earlier this week, we believed it was necessary at this time to be even more specific with regard to our Boardwalk and require face coverings at all times between 8 a.m. and 2 a.m.”

Meehan said sometimes it is possible to practice social distancing on the boardwalk, but not when it’s crowded.

“I think people still try to do that, but it’s just not always possible,” Meehan said.

Some members of the city council thought the requirement could be detrimental.

“I will not vote for an on ordinance, another regulation from government trying to control people,” said council member Mark Paddack.

You won’t have to wear a mask on the beach because Meehan said there is plenty of room to practice social distancing there.

Meehan wanted to have the requirement be in place on the boardwalk at all times but agreed to limit the hours from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. after some concerns from council members who believed people should not have to wear masks during times when it is possible to practice social distancing on the boardwalk.

Meehan wanted to fine violators, but the council voted against that. Meehan said that means people not wearing masks during the required timespan could be charged with misdemeanors per the governor’s order.

The emergency declaration will be in effect for 30 days.

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