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VERIFY: Are face masks required for restaurant employees in the DMV?

In Maryland, Virginia and the District, food service workers must wear a face mask.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — QUESTION:

Are restaurant employees in the DMV required to wear face masks?  

ANSWER:

Yes.

SOURCES:

Mayor's Order 2020-066- "Mayor Bowser Extends Stay at Home Order and Public and Health Emergency Through June 8"

John Falcicchio- Mayor Bowser's Chief of Staff

Virginia government website- "Forward Virginia Guidelines"

Julie Grimes- spokesperson for Virginia Department of Health

Governor Hogan emergency order 20-04-15-01

Maryland Department of Health

RELATED: VERIFY: Are masks required at grocery stores in DC, Maryland and Virginia?

PROCESS:

With parts of the DMV easing in to reopening, viewers are asking if restaurant workers in the region are required to wear face masks?

Our Verify researchers contacted local leaders in D.C., Virginia and Maryland.

In the District, restaurant workers are required to wear masks, according to John Falcicchio, the Mayor's chief of staff.

"For any essential business the employees are required to wear a mask or face covering," Falcicchio said during a press conference. "So for restaurants, whether they are in the front, helping with the curbside pickup or the grab and go, employees would have to wear it, and if they are in the kitchen they would also have to wear a mask as well." 

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DC coronavirus updates

LIVE: DC has seen a 6-day decline in COVID-19 cases. Mayor Bowser shares the latest information on the city’s continuing response to the coronavirus

Posted by WUSA 9 on Friday, May 15, 2020

On April 15, Mayor Bowser issued an order requiring employees and customers of retail food sellers to wear a face covering. 

That order was set to expire on May 15, but on May 13,Bowser extended the order to June 8.

RELATED: DC requires face coverings be worn by everyone in essential businesses

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A Virginia Department of Health spokesperson confirmed similar rules in the commonwealth.

Face coverings are required for workers in dining and service areas. Our Verify researchers asked the spokesperson specifically about food prep, and although it’s not spelled out on the state’s website, the spokesperson said workers in the kitchen are required to wear face coverings as well.

In Maryland, Gov. Hogan’s emergency order requires any staff who interact with customers to wear a mask, including those running food deliveries.

When we asked specifically about workers doing food prep, a spokesperson told us that’s not part of the executive order, but said workers should follow Maryland Department of Health guidelines, which say workers may be required to wear masks if social distancing isn’t possible. There’s an exemption if the mask is a safety or health risk for the employee. 

So yes, in all three jurisdictions, restaurant employees are generally required to wear a face covering during the pandemic. 

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