April 29, 2021

Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friend:

I am happy to report that today Montgomery County has the lowest average case rate in the region and the lowest among the large Maryland counties.

We are the largest county in the state and have one of the lowest covid case rates. This is no small feat.

We are at this point because we have all stuck with the guidelines and weathered this storm together. And we have been patient. You—our residents and businesses—have maintained the restrictions because you understand what this is about: saving lives and health.

I spoke with one young woman this week who works in a restaurant and had COVID-19 last December. This otherwise healthy person explained it was “no joke” with a collapsed lung and multiple other effects. She thanked me for staying firm on the restrictions. She needed her job, but she did not want to go back to work indoors until it was safer. Fortunately, the owner of that restaurant was equally supportive of our efforts.

And it is our efforts—all of you, our public health team and our elected leaders on the County Council and in the General Assembly—who have worked together to stay safe.

Earlier this week, we crossed an important milestone in that more than 50 percent of our population has received at least one dose of a vaccine. This is certainly promising and moving us toward where we need to go.

This week, the County Council (sitting as the Board of Health) approved our public health team’s recommended guidelines for reopening metrics. These are based on the percentage of people vaccinated. You can see the details below:

Yesterday, Governor Hogan lifted virtually all outdoor mask restrictions. I believe that was too soon. You can read my joint statement with the County Council.

As you may know, the FDA and CDC has said that administration of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson (J & J) vaccine could resume, and we are following their guidance. This vaccine is important for us to distribute to homebound residents. We do expect some people may be hesitant to receive this vaccine as compared to the others, and we are working to accommodate those requests. Pausing distribution was a smart move and should be a sign that the safety of these vaccines is being closely monitored.

On other notes, MoCo Eats Week (really 10 days) continues through Monday, May 3. More information can be found at https://visitmontgomery.com/moco-eats/restaurant-week/. If you can, visit one of your favorites or try a new place and support our restaurants that have been hit hard by this pandemic.

I recently joined the kickoff of a new monthly series co-hosted by our Department of Environmental Protection and One Montgomery Green. “Eco Evenings with DEP and OMG” will be a series of virtual town halls for residents to discuss local environmental topics. You and I know that we cannot simply think about the environment and climate change on Earth Day—these are conversations we need to have on an ongoing basis. We value and need your input and your perspective as we move forward with solutions big and small.

As always, my appreciation for staying engaged, informed and continuing to follow the guidelines.

Marc Elrich
County Executive

April 28, 2021

Phased Reopening Plans Tied to COVID-19 Vaccinations Approved

An amended Montgomery County Board of Health regulation to allow a further phased reopening tied to COVID-19 vaccinations has been unanimously approved by the County Council. The provisions of the regulation are now in effect.

The approved regulation provides guidance for expanded reopenings based on the percentage of the County population receiving COVID-19 vaccinations. State statistics as of today, Thursday, April 29, show that 52.2 percent of the County population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination.

Further expanded reopenings will be automatically triggered when the County health officer reports that the vaccination benchmarks have been reached.

Face coverings and social distancing are still required.

The provisions of the updated regulation:

At 50 percent of the population receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine (now in effect):
  • Gathering limits increase to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Businesses limited to 25 percent capacity (including theatres) move to 50 percent capacity and may sell food and drink for consumption while seated.
  • Camps can move to the gathering limits of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors.
  • Escape rooms can allow 10 people per game.
  • Museums and galleries may reopen touch exhibits.
  • Malls may reopen pedestrian concourses and return tables and chairs inside.
  • Sports move to 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors with a similar number of spectators.
At 60 percent of the population receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine:
  • Gathering limits increase to 250 people indoors and no limit outdoors.
  • Most businesses move to 75 percent capacity.
  • Camps can increase to gathering limits of 250 people indoors with no capacity limit outdoors and may permit campers from outside of Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia.
  • Convention and banquet facilities are limited to 50 percent of the facility's maximum capacity per State restrictions.
  • Cigar and hookah bars may permit smoking outdoors.
  • Food service establishments may move to 75 percent of maximum capacity.
  • Religious facilities may move to 75 percent of maximum capacity.
  • Sports may increase capacity for participants and spectators to 250 people indoors and no limit outdoors and may engage in play with teams from outside Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia.
The County follows face covering guidelines from the CDC and the Maryland Department of Health, whichever is stricter. The new regulation provides an exception for sports activities that allows the removal of face coverings during vigorous outdoor exercise for high heat and humidity.

If the County health officer finds, after reviewing community transmission metrics, that continued reopening phases would be contrary to the public health, the health officer must report those concerns to the Board of Health and the continuation to the next phase must be suspended pending a hearing before the Board of Health.

The amended Board of Health regulation can be viewed here.

COVID-19 Update: More Than Half of County Has Received At Least One COVID-19 Vaccine

Montgomery County this week passed a couple of significant milestones in its battle against COVID-19 as now more than half of the County’s population has received at least one vaccine and more than one-third of all residents have been fully vaccinated.

State statistics as of this morning, Thursday, April 29, show that more than 548,700 County residents have received at least one vaccine (52.2 percent of all County residents) and 374,200 residents (35.6 percent) are fully vaccinated.

Although the County’s numbers are encouraging, COVID-19 is still circulating in the community and the County needs more residents to get vaccinated and to get tested. See the County COVID-19 Data Dashboard for key indicators and more details.

Now that the CDC and FDA have ended the pause on the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the County will resume administering doses of that vaccine at some County-operated clinics. The County currently has a limited supply of the J & J vaccine and is awaiting notification from the State about when more doses may arrive.

Most people are now aware that there is a very small risk associated with this vaccine. If anyone has received the J & J vaccine and has experienced any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Residents who received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should have received a small white vaccination record card at the vaccination site. The cards are issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and serve as a personal immunization record.

Bring the card to your second appointment so it can be updated. Keep the card in a safe place and make a copy of the original. If you are traveling or returning to work or school, consider bringing your vaccination record card (or a copy of it) in case you are asked for proof of vaccination.

All Marylanders 16 and older can preregister for one of the County-operated COVID-19 vaccination clinics at govaxmoco.com.

County residents can also preregister for one of the State’s mass vaccination sites at covidvax.maryland.gov. In addition, many of the State-run clinics are now accepting walk-ups. Check the State website for details.

If you received your first dose at a County-operated clinic, but have not received an email three days before your second dose due date, email c19vaccination@montgomerycountymd.gov or call the COVID-19 call center at 240-777-1755 for assistance in scheduling a second dose appointment. The County maintains a supply of second dose vaccine for residents who received first doses from the County.

Anyone who is 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.

Restaurants and Food Service Businesses Are Reminded to ‘Skip the Straw’ Starting Saturday, May 1, in New Campaign

Montgomery County restaurants and food service businesses are being reminded to “Skip the Straw” starting Saturday, May 1, in a new campaign by the County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). A bill proposed by County Executive Marc Elrich and approved by the County Council created a law that prohibits straws from being offered to dine-in customers, except upon request or to comply with Federal disability rights laws.

Straws provided in self-serve dispensers, and with carryout, delivery or drive-through sales, can be provided as has been the case in the past.

The Skip the Straw campaign seeks to help enforce the provisions of Bill 32-20, which aims to reduce waste and remove single-use straws from the environment. The Council approved the bill in December 2020.

“Bill 32-20 is intended to keep litter out of our streams and waterways,” said County Executive Elrich. “There are viable, reusable, degradable and compostable alternatives on the market today that are comparable in cost to plastic straws. Working together, we can move Montgomery County away from plastic straws to environmentally safe alternatives to protect our County, our region and the planet.”

DEP is working closely with partners in the business community to develop and provide bilingual educational materials for businesses to use in their efforts to inform employees and customers of the new County requirements.

“Single-use plastic straws are a problem in the recycling system and the environment,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “They jam recycling machines and, if improperly disposed, plastic straws blow out of trash cans, wash down storm drains and end up in our streams, rivers and oceans. With this bill, Montgomery County is moving forward to help clean up the environment.”

Beginning Dec. 21, 2021, the legislation will require that straws provided in response to customer requests, in self-serve dispensers and with carryout, delivery or drive-through sales be reusable, marine-degradable or home compostable. Restaurants must retain a limited supply of plastic straws that can be provided to customers to comply with Federal disability rights laws.

Durable and reusable straws are made of bamboo, glass, metal and silicone. Marine degradable/home compostable straws include ones made of paper and hay, many of which are comparable in price. There is an exemption to the requirement for situations where a plastic straw is required to accommodate a customer’s medical or disability-related needs.

DEP will be providing a significant amount of education and will continue to work with food service businesses and partners in the business community to ensure awareness and understanding of the requirements. It also will offer technical assistance to bring about compliance with the law. To address instances of willful non-compliance, the law does allow for the issuance of a citation with a fine of $500 for the initial offense. Repeat offenses could result in fines of $750, which may be levied each day that the violation persists.

For more information on straws, visit www.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov/SkipTheStraw.

Interagency Partnership Launched to Address School Safety and Student Well-Being Initiative


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich was joined by members of the County Council, members of the Montgomery County Board of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Montgomery County Police Department on April 23 to announce the launch of an interagency partnership to address school safety and student well-being.

The Reimagining School Safety and Students’ Well-Being Initiative is a collaboration between the County Executive and Montgomery County Public Schools. The initiative will rethink and reshape public safety in Montgomery public schools and provide the best social and mental health support for students.

The interagency committee will lead the implementation of a holistic approach to reimagining safety and mental health supports in MCPS.

Montgomery Department of Transportation Launches Electric Equipment Mowing Pilot Program to Reduce Air and Noise Pollution

A pilot program to deploy its first ever all-electric mowing team has been launched this season by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT). The equipment produces zero emissions and is noticeably quieter than traditional gas-powered equipment.

MCDOT will use the pilot program to evaluate the ability of the equipment to perform and experiment with battery charging logistics. The aim of the pilot program is to reduce noise pollution, air pollution and fuel costs. MCDOT will review the efficiency of the equipment following the mowing season to determine if the program will be expanded in future years.

“Electric powered mowing technology will continue to grow and transitioning from gas powered machinery is an integral part of our efforts to combat climate change,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “MCDOT’s transition to all-electric mowing is an important first step and I appreciate their sense of urgency to initiate this pilot program. We will replace all County landscaping equipment with electric powered as soon as possible to reduce carbon emissions and noise pollution.”

MCDOT is responsible for mowing approximately 4,700 acres of County property. One of MCDOT’s nine mowing crews will use the electric equipment exclusively. The electric mowing crew, which will operate in Silver Spring area through October, can be identified by the bright green mower and its accompanying electric blower and trimmer.

The mower is easy to use and has new technology that helps the crew set precise heights for cutting and collects useful data. The electric motor is essentially silent, so the only noise produced by the machine is the sound of the blades cutting the grass. While it looks like a standard mower, its large electric battery makes it weigh 200 pounds more than standard equipment.

The mowing crew reports that the battery backpacks are heavy, but that a heavy backpack with lighter trimmer and blower equipment is much more comfortable to use than gas-powered blowers and trimmers where the hand-held equipment is much heavier and harder on the body. Simple attachment mechanisms between equipment and battery backpacks also allow easier equipment swaps. The mowing crew also reports that the battery-powered blower has much more power than the department’s standard blowers.

The biggest challenge so far has been the limitations of battery life and related ability for the crew to cover the same amount of mowing area as a traditionally outfitted crew. The mowing battery can provide up to four hours of run time from a full charge and currently needs to return to the depot to charge for 12 hours (as opposed to fueling on the go).

The pilot program will allow MCDOT to try different charging configurations and approaches to determine if electric equipment can be effective more widely.

MCDOT Director Chris Conklin visited the mowing crew and tried the equipment on Earth Day.

Videos of Director Conklin, Highway Services Division Chief Richard Dorsey and mowing crew members using the new equipment can be viewed at https://youtu.be/YI3UvCV62ns. Views from the crew can be seen at https://youtu.be/nWBBKc6iiJs.

Drivers should stay alert, be aware of mowing crews and obey temporary lane closures during mowing operations.

For paving, tree, sidewalk, curb/gutter and seasonal activities or to request right-of-way or tree work, follow MCDOT’s Highway Services @MontCo_Highways on Twitter or visit montgomerycountymd.gov/dot-highway.

For ongoing transportation related updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit the department website at montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, subscribe to MCDOT news releases or subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter.

More Than 50 Restaurants Participating in MoCo Eats Week Through Monday, May 3

More than 50 Montgomery County restaurants are participating in “MoCo Eats Week,” which will continue through Monday, May 3. Warm spring weather has contributed to an outstanding turnout for the opening days of the special week that was organized by Visit Montgomery and the County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services.

MoCo Eats Week was organized to allow diners to enjoy food and drinks at discounted prices. It is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to explore the diverse culinary scene in the County. For restaurants, it is a way to encourage old customers to return to their favorite places and to introduce themselves to new customers enticed by the campaign.

The event is not a typical restaurant week. In MoCo Eats Week, participating restaurants are not limited to specific areas nor are given strict instructions on how meals must be offered. MoCo Eats Week is open to all restaurants, as well as craft beverage producers and local food producers.

The details of MoCo Eats Week include:
  • Businesses pick their own deals or discounts. They can offer both dine-in and carry-out options.
  • Participants are listed in the Digital Savings Pass, where consumers can check-in to their location to redeem deals.
  • Self-guided itineraries are available to suggest clusters of deals throughout the county.
  • In-person and virtual events are being held all week long. Businesses can host an event during the week or submit pre-recorded events. (These can be cooking or cocktail-making segments, history happy hours, tastings or other creative offerings.)
Diners supporting the participating restaurants can win gift cards or one of six staycation overnight packages. Details about restaurant week giveaways and how to sign up for a digital savings pass are available at https://visitmontgomery.com/moco-eats/restaurant-week-giveaways/.

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. New to the dashboard is how many vaccinations have been given by zip code.  

To find the recent trend in vaccinations by zip code, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#cases-zip.       

To find the trend on where vaccinations are being given by zip code, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#vaccine-zip.  

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 Information Portal include:       

County Executive Elrich to Address County Energy Summit on Tuesday, May 4

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will be among the speakers at the 2021 County Energy Summit, which will be held from Tuesday, May 4, through Thursday, May 6. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis, the Summit will be held virtually.

The Summit will be co-hosted by Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the US Green Building Council National Capital Region (USGBC NCR).

Now in its eighth year, the Energy Summit offers strategies, technologies and case studies focused on improving sustainability in the commercial, multifamily and residential built environment.

County Executive Elrich’s remarks will address actions the County is undertaking to implement its Climate Action Plan and better adapt to the changing climate. He also will talk about funding priorities to tackle the County’s climate emergency.

“Montgomery County set one of the most ambitious climate goals in the country—eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2035,” said County Executive Elrich. “We know we cannot achieve this goal alone. Events like the Energy Summit provide the necessary information exchange on climate and energy strategies for us to meet these goals together.”

The theme for 2021 is “Resiliency, from Building to Community,” which supports the County’s ambitious goal of zero carbon emissions by 2035. This year's Summit is a forum for the community to discuss ways to adapt and become more resilient against changes to the regional and global climate.

“We are excited to once again partner with Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection to host the USGBC NCR’s largest education event of the year on this very timely topic of building and community resilience,” said USGBC NCR Director Mark Bryan. “Progress on this incredibly important topic is furthered by Montgomery County’s willingness to establish and enhance innovative policies and incentives to support ambitious climate and energy goals with input from varied stakeholders.”

The Summit’s target audience includes building owners; property managers; developers; energy contractors; residents interested in green building; and sustainability professionals working in Montgomery County and the larger Delaware-Maryland-Virginia area. Last year’s virtual event attracted about 330 attendees.

“The Energy Summit is another example of how we are leading the way with the USGBC National Capitol Region to host this premier green building education and information event,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “This summit brings the private sector, nonprofit groups and local governments together to collaborate on climate and resilience planning efforts. With this expertise at the table, we can develop solutions for green building and energy efficiency for our County and the region.”

Registration for the full Summit pass is $85, which includes access to high-quality education sessions, keynote panel, morning plenary remarks, interactive brown-bag lunches, and virtual networking events. Single-day tickets are also available.

Education sessions have been approved for continuing education credits for Green Business Certification, Inc., and the American Institute of Architects.

To register and view the full schedule, visit the event’s website at www.MCEnergySummit.org. Questions can be emailed to energy@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Mobile Nature Center ‘Nature on Wheels’ Will Make Its Debut This Weekend for Montgomery Parks; Several Nature Centers Scheduled to Open

Nature on Wheels, a mobile nature center and science field station that will bring programming to parks throughout Montgomery County, will make its debut at several locations this weekend. The Montgomery Parks rolling exhibition will have naturalists available to answer questions and share information related to natural areas throughout the park system. In addition, several nature centers are getting ready to open.

Nature on Wheels will be equipped with field research and presentation tools, mobile displays and program presentation activities. Park naturalists will lead various programs, science activities and games utilizing displays deployed around the vehicle and a mobile stage to ensure safe distancing. Some programs may include animal ambassadors.

Naturalists will share information on the City Nature Challenge and offer instructions on how to use the app iNaturalist. Nature on Wheels is scheduled to be at the following locations this weekend:
The Nature on Wheels program plans to expand as it becomes safer for groups to gather and will offer organizations, including schools, the opportunity to schedule a visit at a park within walking distance of their facility.

Nature on Wheels operates in accordance with County guidelines on group size and physical distancing. Face coverings must be worn.

Follow the Locust Grove Nature Center Facebook page for information on future Nature on Wheels dates and locations.

Montgomery Parks also is beginning to reopen nature center facilities. During opening hours, staff will be onsite and restrooms will be open. Indoor play areas, activities and exhibits may remain closed.

Beginning May 1:
Beginning June 5:
Meadowside Nature Center is undergoing facility renovations and remains closed.

Brookside Gardens’ Conservatory Reopens, but 'Wings of Fancy and Caterpillar' Exhibits Canceled

Brookside Gardens’ Conservatory in Wheaton has reopened, but Montgomery Parks, which operates the park, is canceling this year’s Wings of Fancy Live Butterfly and Caterpillar exhibits due to health and safety concerns related to COVID-19. 

The conservatory features plants from around the world, including banana, palm, eucalyptus, red powderpuff and cacao trees. Also on display are fragrant plants such as snapdragons, rose-scented geranium, myrtle and tricolor sage.

Visitors to the conservatory can reserve free timed-entry tickets for one of two time slots, 11 a.m. to noon or noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Masks are required. Walkups are not permitted.

Brookside Gardens’ outdoor garden area is open daily from sunrise to sunset for exercise, meditation and wellness. The Visitor Center and Gift Shop, beginning Saturday, May 1, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More information about Brookside Gardens is available at https://www.montgomeryparks.org/parks-and-trails/brookside-gardens/

Climate Change Art Contest Winners Announced

Montgomery County has announced the 13 winners of its Climate Change Art Contest. The contest encouraged community members of all ages to use artistic forms of expression to show the connections between climate change and daily lives.

The winning entries will be featured on the pages of the County’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). The County’s strategic plan has goals to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 percent by 2027, by 100 percent by 2035 and reduce climate-related risk.

“One of the best ways we are going to ensure that we will make significant change toward combatting climate change is to educate our children about it,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “It was wonderful to see all the creative entries to this contest and witness how important saving the environment is to our youngest generation. I hope the sense of urgency we have today about administering polices and actions to combat climate change will help their future tomorrows.”

The winning entries receive cash prizes. Nearly 200 entries were received in a variety of artistic forms including paintings, drawings, sculpture, digital art and spoken word.

“Art has the power to connect with us through the heart. Communicating the urgency of climate change using art can help move people to action,” said Adriana Hochberg, a County assistant chief administrative officer and its climate change coordinator. “I was moved by the quality and creativity of artwork that we received from County residents of all ages.”

The winners were selected across the following five categories and prompts:
  • Engage! - What is the connection between community and climate?
  • Sound the Climate Alarm! - Capture the emergency of climate change
  • Adaptation - How can our community adapt to a rapidly changing world?
  • Environmental/Climate Justice - Capture who will be disproportionately impacted by climate change’s effects.
  • Future vision of Montgomery County - What the County would look like in 2035 if we meet our GHG goals in an equitable way.
“We are so appreciative of all the individuals that took time to submit their art to the County,” said Stan Edwards, division chief of energy, climate and compliance for the County’s Department of Environmental Protection. “We look forward to engaging with community members in similar ways in the future as we work collectively to address climate change.”

The contest winners and the categories in which they were selected:
  • Avani Ambardekar (Future Vision of Montgomery County)
  • Eunice Ewusie (Future Vision of Montgomery County)
  • Shani Glassberg (Engage)
  • Chayse Graydon (Engage)
  • Ami Hernandez (Sound the Climate Alarm)
  • Samantha Kent (Sound the Climate Alarm)
  • Reagan Lentz (Environmental/Climate Justice)
  • Sophia Liang (Environmental/Climate Justice)
  • Laney Parker (Sound the Climate Alarm)
  • Yoonah Suh (Sound the Climate Alarm)
  • Krish Wahi (Adaptation)
  • Lillian Weisburger (Sound the Climate Alarm)
  • Alexandra Wu (Adaptation)
The winning entries can be viewed at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/Resources/Files/climate/climate-change-art-contest-winners.pdf.

More information about Montgomery County’s climate change initiatives can be found at: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/climate/index.html.

New Video Series Puts Wheaton Small Businesses in the Spotlight

The Wheaton office of the Latino Economic Development Center (LEDC), which has contracted with Montgomery County to help promote small businesses in Wheaton, has launched the “Wheaton Small Business Spotlight Series” that will highlight the services—and the background stories—of hundreds of small operations of all types in the Wheaton area.

The series kicked off by highlighting three spring-appropriate businesses:
  • Asesoria Americana. 11230-B Grandview Ave., No. 2, Wheaton. Elizabeth Chavez opened to Asesoria Americana in 1998 because, at that time, there was not a single business like hers the Wheaton area that served the Hispanic community with tax preparation services.
  • Kings Auto Care. 2405 Reedie Dr. No. B, Silver Spring. Robert King loved tinkering with cars since he was a kid, so opening his own auto shop seemed like the natural thing to do.
  • Choice Tax MultiService. 11248 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. Luis Bonilla started Choice Tax MultiService as a way to help Latinos in the community access tax preparation services in Spanish. A key goal of the business is to educate clients about the tax filing process so they may feel empowered to take control of their finances.
All videos in the series can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDBmSgRM9m49hbY7Q_Q-MSw

More information about the Small Business Spotlight Series is available at the LEDC website at https://www.ledcmetro.org/.

Each month, the series will aim to spotlight three additional Wheaton area small businesses.

In May, appropriate for Mother’s Day, the Small Business Spotlight will feature KC Jewelry, Triangle Jewelry and Nail Perfection.

New Assistance Available to Small, Minority-, Veteran- or Women-owned Business Negatively Impacted by COVID-19 Health Crisis

A new program of assistance is now available from Maryland for small, minority-, veteran- or women-owned businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 health crisis. The Small, Minority and Women-Owned Business Account COVID-19 Relief Program offers up to $50,000 in paired loans and grants to eligible businesses.

The assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis.

More details on the program, including how to apply, is available at the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation website at https://thinkmoco.com/covid-19-resources.

The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund offers working capital to assist Maryland small businesses and nonprofits with disrupted operations due to COVID-19. Assistance is intended to provide interim relief complementing actions with banks, business interruption insurance and financial partners.

“Our small, minority-, veteran- and women-owned businesses have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and I encourage all applicable businesses to apply for this State program,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “We are appreciative to Governor Hogan and the Maryland Department of Commerce for providing this funding. Our Economic Development Corporation has been aggressively marketing this opportunity.”

‘Business Development in Montgomery County’ Will Be Theme in Revitalization and Recovery Virtual Town Hall on Friday, April 30

“Business Development in Montgomery County” will be the theme from noon-1 p.m. on Friday, April 30, when Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Economic Revitalization and Recovery program continues its series of virtual town hall meetings to keep businesses informed on strategies for doing business as the health crisis continues.

County Executive Marc Elrich initiated the series of town halls held every other Friday to share timely updates on COVID-19 topics of interest to the business community. The town halls give businesses an opportunity to hear directly from County leaders. Jerome Fletcher, the County’s assistant chief administrative officer (ACAO) for economic development, hosts the sessions. He also provides updates on grant programs available to County businesses and offers ideas that can help economic recovery.

During the April 30 town hall, ACAO Fletcher will welcome Laurie Boyer, manager of the business advancement team, and, Ruth Semple, who is on the business advancement team in the Office of the County Executive. They will discuss how the County can be a launching pad for businesses and the availability of resources for new ventures.

In addition, ACAO Fletcher will address updates on the County COVID-19 vaccination efforts and economic recovery from the health crisis with Travis Gayles, the County health officer, and Earl Stoddard, the County’s director of Emergency Management.

“We must leverage the County’s quality incubator system as a productive resource for business development,” said ACAO Fletcher.

To join the broadcast, go to https://zoom.us/j/98584224354?pwd=ekdBd05kT08zRmxCekQzajkwdW9LZz09. The Webinar ID: 985 8422 4354, Passcode: 057204. Spanish interpretation is now available.

Town halls are recorded and available through the Montgomery County Business Portal at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/Biz-Resources/covid19/4BizNews.html

Montgomery Parks to Present Plans for Proposed Dog Park at Norwood Park in Bethesda to Planning Board on Thursday, May 6

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, on Thursday, May 6, will present plans for a proposed dog park at Norwood Local Park in Bethesda to the Montgomery Planning Board. The public is invited to comment or testify at the virtual meeting in writing or by email.

The time of the presentation will be posted on the Planning Board website closer to the date of the presentation. The site will have information about how to testify.

At the meeting, Parks staff will recommend a concept plan for the proposed dog park. The site was selected following an extensive Site Suitability Study for Dog Parks approved by the Planning Board in 2019, and a public input period from Nov. 10, 2020, through Jan. 14.

Norwood Local Park is a 17.5-acre park with a community activity building, athletic fields, open lawn areas, a basketball court, two playgrounds, an open-area amphitheater and tennis courts. It was identified as a favorable site for a dog park based on the demonstrated need for dog parks in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area.

The park’s proximity to Downtown Bethesda and densely populated surrounding neighborhoods meets recommendations from the Site Suitability Study. In addition, it is a large park already being used by many dog owners. The site would allow for separation between the dog park, existing park amenities and residences.

“Dog parks are one of the most needed facilities in Montgomery County’s park system, particularly in areas of high population density,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks. “Norwood Local Park is well-suited for a dog park based on its location in a thriving community that serves many people, including many dog owners who use the park frequently.”

The proposed dog park would be slightly less than half an acre in size. It would provide a designated fenced area for dog exercise with separated large and small dog areas. It could include a shade structure, seating and a water source for dogs.

If the proposed dog park location and concept plan is approved by the Planning Board, parks staff will begin developing a facility plan, with construction anticipated to start in summer 2022.

April 22, 2021

Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

Happy Earth Day! Today is another day to remember that, if it were not for COVID-19, climate change would have been the natural disaster headline of the year, decade and century.

I hope you have a chance to celebrate and commemorate Earth Day—enjoy the outdoors, hug a tree, turn off the lights you are not using . . . there is a lot that we can and should be doing individually and collectively.

Within County Government, we are tackling climate change. We are taking small steps and big steps and doing everything that we can do. We are focused on turning our bus and car fleet to electric vehicles, increasing our solar production and improving and expanding opportunities for public transit, biking and walking. We also have sent major legislation to the County Council regarding reducing energy use in existing buildings as well as future buildings. We are one of the leaders in the country on these issues. And with the passage of the Community Choice Energy bill, we have jumped into making CCE a reality for the County. We have State-imposed requirements and timelines, but we will move as quickly as is possible.

You can learn more about our climate change initiatives that I presented at our Earth Day news event.

I do need to comment on another major event: the guilty verdict for Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd. As I said earlier this week, the verdict will not bring George Floyd back to life or make his family whole, but it is one more reminder that we still have so much work to do regarding law enforcement reform and reimagining public safety.

Here in Montgomery County, we are moving forward with a comprehensive review of how we hire, how we train and how we police. We have established policies that clearly define expected practices: banning chokeholds, changing the rules on no-knock warrants and implementing a “duty to intervene” so that our officers understand their responsibility to step in when another officer is not acting appropriately in their work to protect the community.

This is our moment to institute significant institutional changes that will benefit all of our residents, rebuild confidence in our police and restore the morale of our officers. We began our work before the tragic George Floyd incident. Our work is continuing and we are committed to ensuring an equitable outcome for everyone. To read more about Reimaging Public Safety agenda, please visit our webpage.

In terms of our continuing COVID response and recovery, we have announced $59 million of additional funds to help tenants facing evictions. Information is available at the rent relief website or by calling 311 (240-777-0311). Previously, more than $16 million has been provided to more than 4,000 County households. We are reaching out to these families in numerous ways and we welcome your help in promoting this to any of your Montgomery County family, friends and neighbors who may need this assistance.

At our weekly press conference, we also outlined the multiple efforts by our team to provide food security to the many who are struggling throughout this county. You can watch the news conference here.

In consultation with our public health team, the County Council, sitting as the Board of Health, passed regulations regarding high school graduations. More details are here.

Our County’s COVID-19 case rate continues to be much better than virtually anywhere elsewhere in the State. Thankfully, our seven-day average is holding steady and not going up.
Click to view the chart

You can find more details at https://state-of-maryland.github.io/DailyCaseRatebyJurisdiction/index_fullscreen.html.

We are currently reviewing and discussing metrics for further reopening. We will base our decisions on case rates, positivity, vaccination rates and more.

Our residents continue to be vaccinated at a good rate. More than 500,000 residents have received at least one dose. We continue to vaccinate as quickly as we receive the doses.

We are doing well because of all of you. So please continue following CDC recommendations—as you have been doing—to continue to wear a mask in public, maintain physical distance and get tested if you think you may have been exposed.

We are getting there together. Thank you.

Marc Elrich
County Executive

April 21, 2021

Board of Health Regulation for School Graduations Approved

An amended Montgomery County Board of Health regulation to provide guidance for public and private school graduation ceremonies was unanimously approved this week by the County Council. The regulation applies to ceremonies for high school, middle school, elementary school and kindergarten graduations.

The regulation includes the following guidance for graduation ceremonies:
  • The total number of persons present at an outdoor graduation ceremony must be limited to 50 percent of the outdoor venue’s maximum occupancy.
  • If an outdoor venue does not have a formal certificate of occupancy, 40 square feet per person must be used to calculate the occupancy limit.
  • The total number of persons present at an indoor graduation ceremony is limited to 25 percent of the maximum occupancy or 250 people, whichever is smaller.
  • A school that plans an indoor graduation ceremony must obtain a letter of approval for its plan showing how it would meet the general requirements of the regulation.
  • A record of everyone attending the graduation must be kept for 30 days to enable contact tracing.
  • The school must identify a point of contact for an attendee to notify if they test positive for COVID-19 within two weeks after the event. The point of contact must notify the County's Department of Health and Human Services within one business day of notice of a positive test.
  • No more than 10 people can be on the stage at one time.
  • The ceremony must last no more than two hours.
  • Members of the audience from different households must remain at least six feet apart at all times.
  • Signage explaining the infectious control requirements must be posted at the venue;
  • No group or staged photography.
  • No congregating or gathering in common areas both inside and outside of the venue before or after the ceremony.
  • A masked speaker must be at least 12 feet from the audience and an unmasked speaker must be at least 18 feet from the audience.
  • Diplomas must be distributed without handshakes or physical contact.
  • No food or beverage concessions at the ceremony.
The amended Board of Health regulation and the Council staff report can be viewed here.

School representatives who have questions about graduation ceremonies should send an email to covid.plans@montgomerycountymd.gov.

COVID-19 Update: About Half of All County Residents Have Received At Least One Dose of Virus Vaccine

The battle against COVID-19 neared a positive milestone this week as Maryland statistics show that as of today, Thursday, April 22, about half of all Montgomery County residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine. The County has continued to vaccinate a large number of residents each day, even though a pause on issuing Johnson & Johnson vaccines reduced the number of vaccines the County expected to have for distribution over the past two weeks.

Today’s State COVID-19 statistics show that more than 508,500 County residents (approximately 48.4 percent of all residents) have received at least one of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 322,900 residents (about 30.7 percent ) are fully vaccinated.

COVID-19 is still circulating in the community. The most common strain in circulation is the variant, B-X-X, otherwise known as the British variant. See the Montgomery County COVID-19 Data Dashboard for key indicators and more details.

All Marylanders 16 and older are now eligible to receive a vaccine, no matter which provider is giving the vaccination. Residents can preregister at govaxmoco.com for one of the County-operated COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Residents can assist other residents who do not have computer access by preregistering for them either online or by calling the preregistration helpline at 240-777-2982 for assistance.

To register at a State mass vaccination site, go to covidvax.maryland.gov. Options include the site on the Germantown campus of Montgomery College and the newly established mass vaccination site located at the Greenbelt Metro Station in Prince George’s County.

Preregistration does not guarantee an appointment at any site. The supply of vaccines remains less than the number of people who want to get them.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) continue to investigate possible links between the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and rare episodes of blood clots in six women recipients, County health officials will continue to pause the use of the single-dose vaccine. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) may make an updated recommendation about the J & J vaccine by the end of the week.

People who have received a first dose at a County-operated clinic, but have not received an email three days before their second dose due date should email c19vaccination@montgomerycountymd.gov or call the COVID-19 call center at 240-777-1755 for assistance in scheduling a second dose appointment. The County always maintains a supply of second dose vaccine for residents who received their first dose from the County.

Many residents who have been fully vaccinated have questions about what this means for future safety and behavior. Here is some guidance:
  • Keep wearing a mask. earing a mask and physical distancing are still important in helping slow the spread of COVID-19 until we reach herd immunity.
  • Herd immunity is needed. However, the County and the nation are not there yet. Estimates range that the stage will not be reached until possibly this summer or not until early 2022.
  • Getting COVID-19 is still possible. Vaccines are highly effective against severe disease and death, but there is a chance a fully vaccinated person could still get infected with COVID-19.
  • Fully vaccinated people may eventually need a booster. Researchers do not know yet how long vaccine immunity will last. The medical community is doing research on whether booster shots may be required in the future.
  • A vaccinated person can still infect someone. There is a chance that a vaccinated person could get infected with the virus and spread it to someone who is not vaccinated.
  • Fully vaccinated people of any age can visit inside a home or private setting without a mask. They also can visit with a household of unvaccinated people who are not at risk of severe illness inside a home or private setting without a mask.
  • Domestic travel without a pre- or post-travel test is acceptable and travel domestically without quarantining after travel also can be done. Fully vaccinated people can travel internationally without a pre-travel test, depending on destination. Travel internationally also can be done without quarantining after travel.
  • Attending group fitness classes with other fully vaccinated participants and instructors while wearing a mask is okay. Check your gym for specific policies.
  • Sitting indoors at restaurants operating at reduced capacity while wearing a mask when not eating or drinking is considered safe.
The CDC recommends that even fully vaccinated people should NOT visit indoors with people at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19 or attend medium or large gatherings without a mask.

Residents who received a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine received a vaccination record card. The cards are issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and serve as a personal immunization record. The card lists the date when the first dose of the vaccine was received what vaccine was administered received. For those who have received a two-shot vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna), the date of the first vaccination provides a general idea of when the second dose is due (three weeks later if you received Pfizer and four weeks later if you received Moderna).

Bring the card to your second appointment so it can be updated. If you forget to bring your card, do not panic. If you have some form of ID, staff at the site can pull up your name in their records and get you vaccinated.

If you have lost your vaccination card, visit Maryland MyIR for a copy of your immunization record. If you were vaccinated at a County-operated site, you can also request a new card by emailing c19vaccination@montgomerycountymd.gov and providing your name, date of birth and home address.

The vaccination card is not a legal document and is not the same as a “vaccine passport” that may or may not be required in the future. However, if you are traveling or returning to work or school, you should consider bringing the vaccination record card, or at least a copy of it, in case you are asked for proof of vaccination.

The CDC recommends people who have already had COVID-19 still get vaccinated. The vaccine could create a bigger immune response, which better prepares the body to fight off the coronavirus in the future. Experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. If you have already recovered from COID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus again.

Montgomery County Executive Elrich and Council President Tom Hucker Highlight Actions to Combat Climate Change as County Celebrates Earth Day

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich today unveiled his climate legislative agenda for the upcoming year and discussed the County’s climate accomplishments and initiatives at an event in Silver Spring that was part of the County’s celebration of the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. The Earth Day event was held at the Glen Manor Condominium in Silver Spring.

County Executive Elrich was joined at the event by County Council President Tom Hucker and several residents who have been advocates for improving the environment. Among those participating in the event were Wendy Howard, executive director of One Montgomery Green; Adam Roberts, executive director of Bethesda Green; and Brian Haaser, president of the Glen Manor Condominium association board.

With support from the Montgomery County Green Bank, Glen Manor Condominium implemented energy efficiency upgrades that are reducing operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions. The Montgomery County Green Bank was the first county-level green bank to be established in the country. The Green Bank is a publicly chartered 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to accelerating affordable energy efficiency and clean energy investments in Montgomery County.

County Executive Elrich used the occasion to provide an overview of the County’s long-standing efforts to combat climate change and highlighted major climate legislative and regulatory policies that the Elrich Administration has transmitted to Council for adoption. Those pieces of legislation include the Building Energy Performance Standard bill and the 2018 International Green Construction Codes.

The County Executive also provided a look ahead to additional legislative and regulatory actions he has planned for the upcoming year as part of his efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support climate resilience.

“Earth Day is yet another reminder of our climate emergency,” said County Executive Elrich. “There is much that the County has already accomplished, and we are continuing to break ground nationally on policies to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. We can’t do it alone. As we move forward on climate action, we will need continued collaboration with everyone in the community. There is a role for each of us to play in combatting climate change.”

Council President Hucker said: “While we address the economic and public health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot lose sight of the existential threat of climate change. We must use this moment as an opportunity to build a better world post-COVID and invest in transportation and energy projects that advance our climate goals.”

Current Montgomery County climate initiatives include:
  • The Building Energy Performance Standard bill, which has been transmitted to Council, will require owners of the largest and most energy-consuming buildings to improve their buildings’ energy performance. Through following requirements and using accompanying tools to enable buildings improve their energy efficiency, owners will help reduce the climate impacts of their buildings. Among the actions they will be encouraged to take will be deep energy retrofits, operational improvements and tenant engagement. Building energy performance standards will directly reduce the County’s greenhouse gas emissions from the existing built environment and get the County one step closer to its goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2035.
  • The proposed 2018 International Green Construction Code (IgCC), which has also been transmitted to Council, sets more stringent requirements for new commercial construction projects and major building additions, including energy efficiency improvements, onsite energy generation and improved indoor air quality. The 2018 IgCC will apply in the County to all commercial construction and additions of 5,000 square feet and greater. The code requirements provide improved scope and stringency over the 2012 IgCC, which is currently in effect in the County. Adoption of the 2018 IgCC will help the County toward net-zero buildings.
  • With the support of the County Executive and County Council, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 768—Montgomery County – Community Choice Energy – Pilot Program— during the 2021 General Assembly Session that will give Montgomery County the authority to implement an opt-out Community Choice Energy (CCE) program. The bill will provide an opportunity for the County to purchase energy on behalf of residential and small commercial electricity customers. Maryland is only the ninth state in the nation to pass CCE legislation. CCE will enable the County to offer more renewable energy supply to customers than is currently provided by the three electric utilities serving the County. At the same time, it has the potential to deliver price stability and cost savings to residents and small businesses. Opt-out CCE is one of the actions identified in the County’s Draft Climate Action Plan as a tool to significantly reduce the County’s electricity-related emissions.
  • Montgomery County was the first county in the nation to adopt a Building Energy Benchmarking Law. Benchmarking leads to a better understanding of energy trends and performance among building owners and managers and has resulted in energy savings of roughly 2 percent per year in consistently benchmarked facilities.
  • In order to provide community solar power for low- and moderate-income residents lowering their utility bills, Montgomery County has installed 7.6 megawatts of solar power installed on its government facilities and an additional 6-megawatt installation is underway at the closed Oaks landfill site.
  • Montgomery County partners with Solar United Neighbors to offer a solar cooperative to bring down the cost for residents to install solar on their roofs and electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.
  • The County is moving its entire government fleet to electric and zero emission vehicles. Four electric Ride On buses are already in circulation and ten more are on the way. The County is also pilot testing an EV police vehicle, the Mach-E.
  • To help people get out of their cars and use more public transit, in 2020 the County opened the first Flash bus route on US 29, and two more routes are in the works on Veirs Mill and Rockville Pike/355. Montgomery County Public Schools recently signed an agreement to lease over 300 electric school buses.
  • The County has added more EV charging stations and launched a pilot program in residential neighborhoods that allows residents to site charging stations in the right-of-way if they do not have off-street alternatives for siting chargers.
  • To make it easier for people to walk, bike and scooter, the County is building an extensive network of bikeway facilities, including protected bike lanes, and continue to install sidewalks. There is an e-bike and e-scooter “micromobility” pilot program underway as well.
  • Continuation and expansion of government employee teleworking policies to reduce commuting and traffic congestion of Montgomery County employees.
  • County government staff are receiving training to work across departments for climate solutions. The County is also engaging with the community on these efforts, including the upcoming launch of the climate stories project to hear personal stories about climate action.
Montgomery County climate legislative and regulatory efforts planned for the upcoming year:
  • Adopt the 2021 International Energy Conservation Code as a pathway to net-zero residential homes in the next two code cycles. This approach is designed to allow flexibility to home builders and establishes future market expectations that would encourage home builders to explore innovative solutions to building new homes.
  • Issue regulations to implement the Transportation Demand Management law, which expands strategies to reduce the use of single-occupant vehicles, particularly for work trips.
  • Evaluate modifications to the Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE) program and introduce legislation to expand the type and size of projects eligible for C-PACE funding. It also would include climate resiliency activities as eligible PACE measures.
  • Introduce legislation to expand the role of the Green Bank to also serve as the County’s Resilience Authority in order to help finance projects focused on addressing the impacts of climate change, including flooding and other resilience activities.
Later this spring, the County will release its final Climate Action Plan that aligns all of the County’s climate initiatives and provides a roadmap for achieving 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2027 and reaching zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. In conjunction with the upcoming release of the final Climate Action Plan, the County will issue an annual work plan of the climate initiatives planned for the 2022 Fiscal Year.

For more information about the Climate Action Plan and all of Montgomery County’s sustainability efforts, please visit. https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/green/

More Than 50 Restaurants Will Participate in MoCo Eats Week from April 23-May 3—the First-Ever Countywide Week to Eat Out

The COVID-19 health crisis has made the past 13 months difficult for residents and businesses of all kinds in Montgomery County. Particularly impacted have been the County’s restaurants. Now, as more people become vaccinated and restrictions are eased, Visit Montgomery and the County’s Department of Alcohol Beverage Services are unveiling the MoCo Eats Week campaign that will be Montgomery County’s first-ever countywide restaurant week.

More than 50 restaurants around the County are participating in MoCo Eats Week, a special restaurant week starting Friday, April 23, and running through Monday, May 3. The event is being organized to allow diners to enjoy food and drinks at discounted prices. It is a great opportunity for residents and visitors to explore the diverse culinary scene in the County. For restaurants, it will be a way to encourage old customers to return to their favorite places and to introduce themselves to new customers enticed by the campaign.

The event is not a typical restaurant week in the kind that participating restaurants are in limited areas or with strict instructions on how meals must be offered. MoCo Eats Week is open to all restaurants, as well as craft beverage producers and local food producers.

The details of MoCo Eats Week include:
  • Businesses pick their own deals or discounts. They can offer both dine-in and carry-out options.
  • Participants will be listed in the Digital Savings Pass, where consumers can check-in to their location to redeem deals.
  • Self-guided itineraries will be available to suggest clusters of deals throughout the county.
  • In-person and virtual events will be held all week long. Businesses can host an event during the week or submit pre-recorded events. (These can be cooking or cocktail-making segments, history happy hours, tastings or other creative offerings.)
Diners supporting the participating restaurants can win gift cards or one of six staycation overnight packages. Details about restaurant week giveaways and how to sign up for a digital savings pass are available at https://visitmontgomery.com/moco-eats/restaurant-week-giveaways/.

More information on MoCo Eats Week is available at visitmontgomery.com/moco-eats/restaurant-week/.

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, the 11th annual celebration of the diverse restaurants in the area adjacent to Downtown Silver Spring 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, adjacent to 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 independent breweries.

“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 https://www.silverspringdowntown.com/fenton-village/taste-the-world-in-fenton-village.

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

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. New to the dashboard is how many vaccinations have been given by zip code. 

 To find the recent trend in vaccinations by zip code, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#cases-zip.      

 To find the trend on where vaccinations are being given by zip code, go to https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/case-counts.html#vaccine-zip. 

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 Information Portal include: