December 16, 2020

New COVID-19 Safety Restrictions on Dining and Retail in Effect

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has issued new Executive Order 139-20AM2 that tightens safety restrictions as the County tries to get better control of the spreading COVID-19 virus. The new order, which was approved unanimously by the County Council, suspends indoor dining, reduces indoor sports gatherings to no more than 10 people and reduces the maximum capacity of retail establishments. The new restrictions went into effect on Tuesday.

The provisions of the new order include the following:
  • Restricts restaurant service to outdoor dining. No indoor dining is permitted. Carryout, delivery and drive-through service may continue. Outdoor dining is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., per an existing Executive Order from Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
  • Indoor sports gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people total.
  • Maximum capacity for retail establishments is reduced to one person per 200 square feet of retail space—not to exceed a maximum of 150 people. Large retail establishments have until Dec. 23 to obtain a letter of approval to continue to have more than 150 people in their retail space. Businesses that request a letter of approval must submit a business plan that details how they will monitor the number of people in the building at any given time. The plan also must provide information on how social distancing will be ensured at the entrance, exit and check-out lines. Businesses must also provide detailed modified staffing strategies to reduce employee exposure. In order to be approved by Dec. 23, requests for a letter of approval must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21. Requests can be submitted on the COVID-19 website under the Executive Order portal. Effective at 5 p.m. on Dec. 23, businesses that do not have a letter of approval to exceed 150 people will be limited to one person per 200 square feet of retail space up to a maximum of 150 people.
Religious institutions remain capped at 25 percent of capacity indoors. A County letter of approval must be obtained for outdoor services of more than 25 participants. Previously a letter of approval was needed for outdoor services of more than 150 persons.