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Anne Arundel County Mask Mandate Remains In Effect After Judge Rules Against Injunction

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- An indoor mask mandate in Anne Arundel remains in effect after a circuit court judge ruled against a request for a preliminary injunction.

When issuing his ruling the judge stated the health officer acted within his power, and that the mask mandate meets the needs of the community. He also said the plaintiffs failed to show they were suffering irreparable harm.

"I want to thank the Court for again recognizing Dr. Kalyanaraman's authority to issue this order under his powers as our Health Officer," said County Executive Steuart Pittman. "I hope and anticipate the expiration of the order on January 31st, as it has accomplished what Dr. Kalyanaraman intended - flattening the curve of the omicron wave during a critical moment for our hospitals and healthcare workers. "

On Jan. 7, county health officer Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman issued a public safety order reinstating a mask mandate in the jurisdiction hours after the county council voted not to renew the policy. The council voted 4-3 in favor of keeping the mandate, but a supermajority was needed for the bill to pass.

The order requires masking in both indoor and outdoor public areas where distancing isn't possible.

According to court records, the lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order was filed on Jan. 14 by attorney Charles J. Muskin. Pasquale Carannante and James Zimmerer are listed as the plaintiffs. Both are business owners in the county, according Pittman.

James Zimmerer said he's disappointed in the decision and that he presented this case as a private citizen of Anne Arundel County.

"I feel no way about if a person should wear a mask, one way or the other, it was never about the efficacy of a mask as well," he said. "It was never a question of that. It was really just the pure legality of it."

Pittman said as key metrics in the county continue to decline, he sees no reason to extend the mandate past its expiration date of January 31st.

"We will be recommending masks beyond that as the numbers continue to come down but the mandate, unless something drastic changes, will end on Monday," he said.

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