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Carroll County health officer satisfied that businesses are following guidelines to limit coronavirus spread

Carroll County’s health officer said officials did not move to close any businesses after conducting inspections Wednesday to assess whether they are following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Larry Hogan this week gave local health officials the authority to require businesses to implement social distancing practices or close if they did not by the start of business April 8.

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On Wednesday Carroll County Health Department officials conducted visits to multiple businesses that are still open because they have been deemed essential, and Carroll County Health Officer Ed Singer expressed satisfaction with their adherence to CDC guidelines.

“Everybody that we visited today had made some attempt to make sure that the public was protected and that their employees were protected by providing for social distancing,” he said.

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As the coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID-19, spread throughout Maryland, health and government officials have been urging Marylanders to following guidelines for “social distancing” — strategies for reducing the risk of spreading the virus.

After the Wednesday inspections, no stores had to be closed by the health department, according to Singer, though recommendations were made to some stores to improve their social distancing.

“It was just minor adjustments for most of them, and there were a couple that needed a little more than minor adjustments where it would take until tomorrow,” Singer said. “It wasn’t anything that was so severe that we needed to shut anybody down.”

Some of those recommendations included directing customer travel within the store and guiding customers to space themselves at least 6 feet apart — any CDC guidelines that they may have been missing.

Singer is glad that that the stores are complying because other jurisdictions will be looking at how they handled it.

“We’re probably the first jurisdiction in the state to do this comprehensively, and the other jurisdictions are going to be looking at this,” he said. “But the state doesn’t even have full guidance out yet. It was Commissioner [Stephen] Wantz who put this in my head on Friday, and we took the initiative to get this done and I think we’re in a better place for it. We’re a little bit ahead of the curve on it.”

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