Montgomery County to Ease More Restrictions

Montgomery County is preparing to enter Phase 2 of its reopening plan as early as next week.

Rockville, Maryland (Wednesday, June 10, 2020) –  Still no exact date on when, but Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles today announced which activities will be allowed when the County enters Phase 2.  While failing to be pinned down on an eact date and time, Elrich says Montgomery County Phase 2 will likely begin sometime next week, pending confirmation of the data benchmarks. The County plans to continue with an incremental reopening, based on public health data.

Phase 2 will allow additional businesses and activities to start and/or increase modified operations under specified guidelines. The guidelines include:

  • Retail – curbside and limited in-store; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of sales space;
  • Restaurants – outdoor/patio seating and limited indoor* dining with requirements; 50 percent capacity maximum indoors (*Not permitted until Governor Larry Hogan lifts restrictions.);
  • Childcare – Maryland State Department of Education continues expanding the number of essential personnel child care programs;
  • Construction – open with requirements;
  • Farms – open, “pick your own” open with requirements;
  • Gyms – fitness centers, and other indoor Physical Activities; open with requirements; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of fitness space (Not permitted until Governor Hogan lifts restrictions.);
  • Hospitals – physicians’ offices and other health care facilities, including hospitals, are available to care for your medical needs. Contact the local facility or office for more information;
  • Hotels – open with requirements;
  • Houses of Worship – virtual, drive-in, and limited indoor and outdoor services with requirements – one congregant/family unit per 200 sq. ft. of service space;
  • Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings – limited to a maximum of 50 or one person/family unit per 200 sq. ft., whichever is lower (Not permitted until Governor Hogan lifts restrictions.);
  • Manufacturing – open with requirements;
  • Salons/Barbers/Personal Services – all personal services allowed by appointment only; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of service delivery space;
  • Car Washes – open for internal and external cleaning with requirements;
  • Manufacturing – open with requirements;
  • Office Spaces and Multi-tenant Commercial Buildings – limited use for nonessential personnel with requirements; telework strongly encouraged where applicable;
  • Outdoor Community pools (public and private) – open to lap swimming with requirements;
  • Outdoor Day Camps – expanded opening with requirements;
  • Outdoor Youth Sports – expanded for low-contact sports with requirements;
  • Parks & Playgrounds – parks open for personal fitness and fitness classes with requirements; playgrounds open with requirements; only low-contact sports allowed; and
  • Ride On Bus Service – expanded schedule; expanded routes.

Certain outdoor recreation activities and facilities are already permitted: golf courses, archery, shooting ranges, marinas, campgrounds, horseback riding facilities and tennis courts.

The following businesses and services will remain closed in Phase 2:

  • Concerts and theaters;
  • Senior centers;
  • Libraries;
  • Recreation facilities; and
  • Shopping malls

Protective measures such as maintaining physical distancing, careful cleaning and disinfecting, and face coverings being worn by employees and customers, are just some of the measures being required of businesses that are in this initial phase of recovery.

“I want to emphasize that we will only move to this next phase when the data allows it,” said County Executive Elrich. “When it does happen, following the restrictions still in place is essential.  Like you, I am eager to resume as many normal activities as possible, but that cannot be the motivation for moving to the next phase – protecting the public health is what guides us. After careful discussions with our County Health Officer Dr. Gayles, we have identified further restrictions that can be lifted in Phase 2, whenever it happens. Again, I urge everyone to follow the guidelines so that we can keep moving forward and not have spikes in the number of cases. This next phase can be successful if all of us do our part and follow the guidelines.”

Activities that will be allowed in this second phase of reopening are based on metrics the County established with progress overall in decreasing daily numbers of new cases, increasing testing capacity, implementing a large-scale contact tracing effort with the State, decreasing hospitalizations and use of the emergency room by patients with COVID-19 related symptoms, and positive trends in the death rate and test positivity.  \

“We remain focused on being guided by the data and science as we look ahead to a future Phase 2 reopening,” said Dr. Gayles. “Clearly the virus is still here in our community so we must remain focused on maintaining our habits of physical distancing, wearing a face covering when out in public, and frequent, careful handwashing. We are also actively working to increase testing and contact tracing to keep the numbers moving in the right direction.”