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