May 6, 2021

Message from the County Executive  Marc Elrich

Dear Friends,

Today is Nurse Appreciation Day, which is a great opportunity to thank all of our nurses. As a nation, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the nurses, and all frontline health providers who tended to the sick and dying, comforted families and worked tirelessly. They have faced shortages of supplies and medical equipment, and situations where there was little knowledge about effective COVID-19 treatments. They have been met with emotions and tensions that combined to make their jobs more challenging than ever. We owe them our thanks and appreciation for all that they did and that they still are doing.

I am happy to report good news on the COVID-19 front. Our County positivity and case rates are going down and I am proud to say that among the largest jurisdictions in the nation, Montgomery County has the lowest COVID rates east of the Mississippi.

Almost 55 percent of our population has received at least the first dose of vaccine. When we hit 60 percent of our population having received at least one dose of vaccine, we will move into Phase 2 of our reopening. Our careful and deliberate approach is definitely moving us in the right direction.

Also this week, we began direct vaccination registration and some walk-up vaccinations. Learn more about how you can get a vaccine.

However, I am concerned that we are seeing a decline in vaccination rates.

This is consistent with a national trend of people who do not want to be vaccinated. We are trying to understand the different barriers to vaccination and are working hard to encourage people to be vaccinated. To help with that, we are opening more County-operated clinics and offering hours on different days and evenings to make it easier for people to get their vaccines.

Now that vaccines are more easily available, please help convince friends, family and neighbors to get vaccinated. The concept is simple: the more people who get vaccinated, the faster we can safely reopen.

As part of honoring May as “Older Americans Month,” I volunteered this week at our Holiday Park Senior Center and helped prepare and deliver food. It was really great to have a chance to talk directly with some of our seniors. I very much appreciated our Recreation Department for including me in this event.

Since the pandemic started, we have delivered more than 183,000 meals to the homes of seniors unable to shop or cook their own meals. Our partner organizations have delivered an additional 580,000 meals to County seniors. The pandemic has forced us to improve our delivery and food access programs. This work will continue beyond the pandemic.

Our older adults have been among the most impacted by the COVID health crisis. It is good news that almost 85 percent of our 65-and-older population has received one shot and 73 percent of these residents are fully vaccinated.

Older Americans Month is a good reminder to check in on family members, friends and neighbors who are older and to make sure they are doing okay.

This month also is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. It is a great opportunity to highlight the contributions to our history and culture from our AAPI community. We kicked off the celebration this past weekend at Cabin John Park. I especially appreciated the comments from students who shared thoughtful and personal comments about the community’s struggles against anti-Asian hate crimes during this very difficult year. We remain committed to being a County where all people are welcomed and valued.

Earlier this week, we celebrated Teacher Appreciation Day. Over this past year we have asked our teachers to educate in ways few had done before and every teacher had to make changes immediately. They have done an incredible job caring for, teaching and educating our children despite tough circumstances. As a former elementary school teacher, I can all too well imagine the challenges of teaching elementary school remotely—or trying to simultaneously address students in the classroom and on Zoom. I am so thankful for the creativity, ingenuity, patience and perseverance all of our teachers have shown during this school year.

Tomorrow, we will observe Provider Appreciation Day to celebrate the work of our local child care providers and other educators of young children. Like our teachers and so many others, this has been a year of tremendous challenge. Child care providers were “essential” long before the pandemic, and the past year has highlighted the lengths to which they are willing to go to keep their doors open. About 40,000 children in Montgomery County are in child care and our child care providers work every day to keep our children safe and nurtured. They support and engage families, and they play a critical role in our community.

Each of us in some way is working hard to overcome the incredible challenges of the past year and get COVID behind us. We can do this, and we are doing this, together.

With appreciation,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

May 5, 2021

COVID-19 Update: All State Mass Vaccination Sites, Including the One in Germantown, Now Accepting Walk-Ups

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced this week that all 13 State-operated mass vaccination sites are now accepting walk-ups as well as people seeking COVID-19 vaccinations with appointments. This includes the mass vaccination site at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College.

In addition, many government- and privately-operated vaccination sites are now providing vaccinations to residents 16-and-older.

As of Thursday morning, May 6, State statistics show that more than 575,000 County residents (54.7 percent of all residents) have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 427,000 residents (39.7 percent) are fully vaccinated. Today's statistics show only 14 new cases were reported in the County over the past day. That is the lowest single-day count since April 2020, the early stages of the health crisis. 

The increasing number of County residents who have been vaccinated, combined with decreasing numbers in newly reported new cases, continues to be encouraging. However, COVID-19 is still circulating in the community. The County is asking residents to not only get vaccinated, but also to get tested if they think they have symptoms or may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19.

The County’s progress in battling the virus is told in numbers on the COVID-19 Data Dashboard.

Vaccines appointments at County-operated facilities and Germantown mass vaccination site for residents 16-and-over can be scheduled at

Appointments and instructions to get walk-up vaccinations for State-operated sites can be found at

Parents/guardians do not have to accompany their 16- and 17-year-old children to the clinics.

Residents who have received a first dose at a County-operated clinic, but who have not received an email three days before the second dose due date, should email or call the COVID-19 center at 240-777-1755 for assistance in scheduling a second dose appointment. The County always maintain a supply of second dose vaccine for residents who received their first dose from the County.

Montgomery County now follows Centers for Disease Control (CDC) mask guidance. Rersidents who are fully vaccinated, may no longer need to wear a mask at certain times.

Residents who are frequently out in the community should continue getting a test at least once a month. No-cost home-based testing is available.

The CDC recommends people who have already had COVID-19 still get vaccinated. To be safe, it is best to wait at least 14 days after being diagnosed with COVID-19 or after symptoms start before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.

The County relaxed some restrictions that were put in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19. See new guidance on what can be resumed.

There is very small risk of blood clots associated with the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine. If you received the J & J vaccine and experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Bring the white vaccination record card given at the site of your first vaccination to your second appointment so it can be updated. People who are traveling or returning to work or school should consider bringing the card with them in case proof of vaccination is requested.

COVID-19 Information Portal Has Statistics on the Virus Including Infections and Vaccinations Given by Zip Codes   

Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Information Portal provides a variety of breakdowns on how the virus has impacted the County. The statistics are updated to reflect the most recent reports during the health crisis. Among the information available is how many positive cases have been reported in each zip code in the County and how many vaccinations have been given by zip code.   

To find the recent trend in vaccinations by zip code, go to        

To find the trend on where vaccinations are being given by zip code, go to   

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 Information Portal include:        

MCPS Middle Schoolers Can Now Register for Free Virtual Summer Camp on Coding

“Swift” is an easy-to-understand programming language used by professional developers to create world-class apps. Rising sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders in Montgomery County middle schools can now register for a virtual free and fun week of summer camp to learn Swift from coding experts in sessions from July 12 through Aug. 13.

Campers will learn to code with Swift Playgrounds — a free app for iPad that makes getting started with Swift code interactive. The camp will have “live” activities with instructors (through Zoom conference and coding activities) from 1-4 p.m. each day. Additional optional activities will include coding and prototype design in the mornings and afternoons outside of scheduled time.

iPads will be provided to the students.

The camp will focus on code that is interactive, intuitive and easy to read and write. The summer experience will include Career Pathway Days where students will have opportunities to interact with leading local IT companies to talk about future careers.

The program will conclude with a fun certificate of completion and other surprises to ensure a memorable, valuable summer experience.

More information about the camp is available at,

Students can directly register for camp at

Registration Open for Free MCPS Summer Programs

Registration is now open for Montgomery County Public Schools free summer programs for elementary, middle and high school students. Programs will address learning loss, with a focus on mathematics, literacy, electives and preparing for the next grade level.

Elementary and middle schools will offer programs that include mathematics, literacy and specials/electives. High schools will offer opportunities to earn credits in all subject areas required for graduation. The high school courses will provide repeat and original credit, as well as noncredit options.

Programs, which will have all-virtual and in-person options, will:
  • Be offered at no cost to all students, with transportation available.
  • Be offered in all schools/clusters.
  • Have all-virtual and in-person options
High school programs will begin on Monday, June 28. Elementary and middle school programs will begin Tuesday, July 6. Programs will operate five days a week.

More information on the summer programs can be found at

County Executive Elrich Assists with Senior Meal Deliveries as Program Surpasses More Than 183,00 Meals Delivered Throughout COVID-19 Health Crisis

“Older Americans Month” is observed throughout May, and to join the celebration, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich this week assisted Montgomery County Recreation (MCR) with the senior meal delivery program. Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, the program has delivered more than 183,000 meals to seniors who needed home meals because they were unable to shop or cook for themselves.

Since March 16, 2020, when the County initiated COVID-19 safety shutdown protocols, the program has been delivering meal boxes containing trays with individually packed milk, fruit, fruit juice, bread and butter. Each box contains enough to provide for seven meals. Initially, the senior meal program provided meals to seniors who had received in-person meals through the MCR Senior Centers and 55+ locations. It grew to become a meal-delivery service available for any qualified senior who requested meals.

Seniors have been hit hard by the COVID-19 emergency,” said County Executive Elrich. “I am pleased that the County has been able to provide services to deliver food to those in need. The Recreation Department's senior meal service has helped tremendously with the efforts to ensure that seniors unable to leave their homes have access to food delivery or meal pickup.”

Many of the seniors not only faced food insecurity, but also experienced isolation and loneliness. The weekly meal delivery reminder call became a socialization activity for the seniors to connect with someone and talk about how things were going in their life.

“I am extremely proud of everyone in the Recreation Department for their exceptional service during this crisis,” said MCR Director Robin Riley. “Transitioning from an in-person meal provider to a home delivery service required a complex mapping and coordination process. It was not easy, but it was necessary and made it possible to get tens of thousands of meals to residents. The Senior Meal Delivery Program is another example of how the recreation department has been open and available throughout the emergency.”

MCR partners with Montgomery County’s Health and Human Services (HHS), Jewish Council for the Aging Of Greater Washington Inc. (JCA) and Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland, Inc. (MOW) to provide the senior meals. MOW provides the meal boxes through HHS’ senior nutrition program, JCA buses are used to transport meals to participants.

For more information about MCR senior programs, call 240-777-4925.

New Episode of ‘What’s Happening MoCo’ Podcast Focuses on Renter’s Rights and Eviction Assistance

The devastating impact of the COVID-19 health crisis has placed many residents’ homes in financial jeopardy. However, the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) continues to provide guidance and help for homeowners who are facing issues because of COVID-19. On the latest episode of the What’s Happening MoCo podcast, DHCA Director Aseem Nigam discusses renter’s rights, the eviction moratorium and resources available through DHCA’s website.

The new episode is now available. The on-demand video of the newest episode can be viewed via the What’s Happening MoCo Facebook page at The podcast also can be heard via several popular podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts at, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio and others.

A resident’s question regarding a potential eviction that her family faces inspired the theme of this podcast episode. Director Nigam said that the number of similar inquiries regarding renter’s rights have increased significantly over the last year. In response, DHCA’s Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs executed an awareness campaign that included webinars, fliers and website updates.

During the podcast, Director Nigam outlined many of the resources available through his department. He also offered advice that residents must take when facing a potential eviction due to COVID-19’s impact on their lives.

For more information regarding Landlord-Tenant rights, resources and more visit DHCA’s website

In past episodes, podcast host Derrick Kenny has talked with guests on a wide variety of subjects. The show’s guests have included elected officials, Montgomery employees who specialize in specific aspects of government, business leaders and entertainers who live in the County. New podcasts are released twice a month.

Residents and others interested in asking a question or suggesting a topic to be addressed in a future episode are encouraged to engage via the Facebook page or via e-mail at

What’s Happening MoCo podcast episode archives can be accessed by visiting the podcast’s webpage at

County Ride On Bus Schedule Changes Beginning Sunday, May 9, Will Increase Service and Improve Efficiency

Ride On bus service schedules starting Sunday, May 9, will be adjusted by Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to increase overall service and improve efficiency. The changes reflect the continuing shift of resources toward schedule patterns prior to the COVID-19 health crisis. All County-operated transit services remain free of charge to riders at least through June 30.

Flash, the high-frequency MCDOT service that has been operating since October on Colesville Road/ Columbia Pike (US 29) and Lockwood Drive, will continue to be fully operational. Flash destinations include Downtown Silver Spring, Four Corners, White Oak, Fairland and Burtonsville.

The pilot on-demand Flex service in the Rockville and Wheaton/Glenmont areas remains suspended.

Ride On planners have monitored ridership data and on-time performance feedback to identify routes that could achieve more efficiency with schedule updates. The information led to the 30 routes that will have schedule changes starting May 9.

Routes that will have schedule changes and some improved frequencies include: 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34, 39, 43, 46, 52, 54, 55, 56, 59, 73, 79, 81.

Extra buses continue to be stationed at all Metro stations in the County and are ready to deploy to nearby service routes experiencing levels of demand that cannot be met by buses under the standard schedule.

All Ride On buses returned to front-door boarding on April 5.

On Flash, all doors can be used by passengers. This measure makes more space available for passengers inside the buses. Mobility devices should use the front door and bike riders should use the rear/third door.

All Ride On routes are in operation, but ridership capacity remains limited to support safe distancing between riders. All passengers are required to wear a face covering to board and must continue wearing the covering for the entire time on the bus. All buses have a supply of face coverings for riders who cannot provide their own.

Riders are asked to maintain maximum physical distance between themselves and other riders who are not from the same household.

Bus interiors will continue to be cleaned by the County’s Department of General Services twice daily with hospital-grade viral disinfectant. Bus filter and ventilation systems are treated each night with a disinfectant.

For the most up-to-date service information, riders should follow @RideOnMCT on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Customers Supporting Restaurants May 16-22 in 11th Annual Taste the World in Fenton Village Will Have Opportunity to Win Prizes Up to $500

After the COVID-19 health crisis in Spring 2020 limited the Taste the World in Fenton Village event, the 11th annual celebration of the diverse restaurants in Downtown Silver Spring (south of Wayne Avenue) returns in a big way from May 16-22. Those who support the approximately 50 participating restaurants that were severely impacted by the health crisis will have an opportunity to win prizes up to $500.

Fenton Village is known for its varied dining cuisines located primarily between Wayne Avenue and Sligo Avenue, south of Downtown Silver Spring. Locally and independently owned restaurants participating in Taste the World offer cuisines that include Burmese, Cuban, Ethiopian, Greek, Thai, traditional American and many more. The area also includes an independent brewery and specialty shops.

“Foodies from around the region recognize the incredible diversity of culinary delights that exist in Montgomery County, and Taste the World in Fenton Village allows diners to experience a world of tastes in one place,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Our restaurants have been great partners throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of their patrons and help keep our COVID case rate among the lowest in the State. As we turn the page and recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic, we need to support them. Participating—while following COVID safe protocols and guidance—in the Taste the World event is an important step.”

Montgomery County is currently allowing outdoor or patio seating, with indoor dining limited to 50 percent of capacity. Some restaurants offer extended outdoor seating with portions of the street or sidewalk blocked off.

Taste the World provides diners with the opportunity to win cash prizes while supporting the Fenton Village participating restaurants during the special week. Diners who visit three or more restaurants during the week—whether by dining at the restaurants, getting takeout or via delivery—will become eligible for a raffle drawing of cash prizes of $500, $250 or $100. Diners can enter the drawing by submitting their receipts.

For more information on Taste the World, including details on how to enter the raffle and the list of restaurants participating in the special week, go to

The Taste the World is sponsored by Montgomery County, the Silver Spring Urban District and Arts and Entertainment District and Bud Miller.

Artist Proposals Requested by Glenmont Forest Neighbors Civic Association for Public Project in Neighborhood Park

The Glenmont Forest Neighbors Civic Association (GFNCA) is seeking proposals from artists for a public art project that will be installed in a new community park beside Fire Station 18, which is located at 12210 Georgia Ave.

The Call to Artists for Proposals is for an art project to be part of the park that is situated at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road. Each of the artists submitting proposals named among the three-to-five semifinalists will receive $750 honoraria to expand upon, and present their proposals, to the community.

More information about the project and details about the request for proposals can be found at Proposals can be submitted through Sunday, June 6.

GFNCA received a $5,000 design grant from the Maryland State Arts Council. The winning proposal will be selected by the community and will be used to apply for a $20,000 implementation grant in August.

As part of a years-long visioning process, Montgomery County’s Department of General Services installed a playground and pavilion at the park, which it has named “Glenmont Forest Community Park.” However, GFNCA may work with the department on renaming the site in the future.

GFNCA, in partnership with the Silver Spring Civitan Club, installed a Little Free Library at the park this past winter.

The neighborhood association is now partnering with a local landscape architecture firm to design a natural, safe entrance to the park from Grandview Avenue. It is expected that the winning proposal will be installed in collaboration with the landscape architecture firm.

“This is another step in the process of creating a great park for our neighborhood,” said Jim Epstein, the GFNCA president. “The community has always wanted an entrance from Grandview Avenue and we are excited about the opportunity the Maryland State Arts Council has given us by teaming with Bradley Site Design. We are calling for artists to integrate art into the trail and possibly add a beautiful, visible piece at this gateway intersection that represents the rich diversity of our neighborhood community.”