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