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.