May 27, 2021

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends:

All COVID-19 capacity restrictions and many face covering requirements will be lifted tomorrow, Friday, May 28. This is happening because a majority of our residents are fully vaccinated, which is great news. You can see more about vaccination rates on the County’s COVID-19 information page and on the CDC information page.

We will now follow Maryland State health regulations regarding face coverings. Face coverings must continue to be worn on public transportation and inside schools, health care settings, youth camps and childcare facilities. More information is available here.

I want to remind everyone that businesses, other establishments and workplaces can set their own guidelines—they can still choose to require face coverings. Please respect these decisions. In fact, the County is continuing to require face coverings inside all County-owned and operated buildings.

Additionally, the State health department is encouraging all individuals who are older than 2 and who are not fully vaccinated to wear face coverings in all public indoor settings and outdoors where physically distancing is not available.

We continue our efforts to vaccinate and reach the “hard-to-reach” communities. This past weekend, I visited one of our mobile clinics at Lakeforest Mall.

We still have thousands of our residents who are not vaccinated, and we remain committed to finding them and encouraging them to be vaccinated.

I have so much appreciation for our public health and logistic teams, led by our Public Health Officer, Dr. Travis Gayles, and our Director of the Office of Emergency Management, Dr. Earl Stoddard, and by so many County employees who have worked incredibly long hours to manage the impacts of this pandemic.

We also appreciate our nonprofit partners, health care workers, essential employees, volunteers and many more. Together, we have made our County a place that prioritized public health and safety and worked hard to protect our most vulnerable. And of course, the cooperation and support from you—our residents—has been central and essential to all these efforts.

One year since the murder of George Floyd

I do want to note that this week was the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. This murder sparked a social justice movement of a scope that has not been seen since the Civil Rights Era of the 60’s, and it is long overdue.

To be clear, George Floyd was not the first Black man wrongfully killed at the hands of police. Nor has he been the last. We have witnessed over the past weeks more incidents between police and unarmed victims come to light. Here in Montgomery County in Takoma Park, last month, Dominique Williams and James Lionel Johnson, of District Heights, Md., were killed by an off-duty officer of the Federal government.

But the problem is far deeper than these killings and we know it. If the killing stopped tomorrow, the instruments that consign people to poverty and that bar access to what we like to call the American Dream will still be in place. Dismantling racism will not be possible without addressing poverty, discrimination, structural impediments, and frankly, becoming capable of talking about America’s racist history and the long-term consequences that it has had on our society.

We have been working on reimagining policing since I was elected. We have had a working group of residents and a team of consultants work with us to discuss what works, what doesn’t, and most importantly, what we need to change.

That work will soon be completed and we will then begin implementing revised policies. Police cannot and should not be saddled with every social problem we have. Many issues that we have left to the police are properly the purview of social service agencies. We will begin to realign services accordingly.

County budget

The County Council has voted to approve the 2022 Fiscal Year operating and capital budgets. I want to thank the Council for its thoughtful review, analysis and questions regarding my budget proposals. To have the executive and legislative branch agreeing on 99.85 percent of the total budget is a big win for our County residents.

Over the last three budget cycles, the County has had to overcome deficits, respond to the pandemic, and now, recover from the devastating impact the health crisis that took the lives of more than 1,550 County residents.

To accelerate that recovery for all residents, I am proud that my administration has provided balanced budgets that fully fund education, provide affordable housing, fight climate change and keep our residents and neighborhoods safe. We have increased transportation funding in ways that will spur economic development, address racial equity considerations and improve the environment. We have done all that while providing a response to COVID-19 that respects the science and protects our residents.

And we have been able to accomplish all of that thanks to the enormous support from our U.S. Senators, Members of Congress and our State Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly.

Memorial Day weekend

This Memorial Day is the first holiday since the vast increase in COVID-19 vaccinations.

I hope that everyone has a safe weekend and uses common sense as they safely enjoy weekend activities.

As it is Memorial Day Weekend, I encourage everyone to also take a moment to appreciate the millions of men and women who have sacrificed their lives for this country. Let’s remember and pay tribute to all of them this Memorial Day.

With appreciation,

Marc Elrich
County Executive


May 26, 2021

Updated COVID-19 Guidelines Go into Effect on Friday, May 28

Montgomery County’s progress in getting residents to receive COVID-19 vaccines will put new guidelines into effect starting at 6 a.m. on Friday, May 28. The new guidelines will be implemented as a result of agreements made between the County Council and County Executive Marc Elrich, based on consultations with County health officials.

The County established procedures that would allow full reopening in line with State of Maryland guidelines two weeks after 60 percent of all County residents had received at least one dose of a vaccine and at least 50 percent of residents had been fully vaccinated. Those thresholds were previously reached. Starting Friday, the County will also lift most capacity and distancing restrictions for indoor and outdoor businesses and venues.

Updated face covering guidance that will go into effect on Friday, May 28, 6 a.m.
    Face coverings must be worn inside:
    • Public transportation
    • Schools
    • Childcare facilities
    • Youth camps
    • Health care settings
    • County owned and operated buildings
    Face coverings are recommended:
    • Indoor and outdoors for people 2 years and older who are not fully vaccinated, particularly when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
    • Outdoors at childcare, school, and camp programs, and during outdoor offsite activities (e.g. field trips) when physical distancing cannot be maintained for staff, essential visitors, and children 2 years and older.

    COVID-19 Update: Daily Cases Continue Downward Trend as More than 61 Percent of County Residents Have Received At Least One Dose of Vaccine

    Navigate the charts with the arrows in the Vaccine Distribution Dashboard.

    Daily new cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19 continued a downward trend in Montgomery County as more than 650,000 County residents (61.9 percent of the overall population) have received at least one dose of vaccine according to State statistics released this morning, Thursday, May 27. More than 539,000 (51.3 percent) are fully vaccinated.
    The County’s test positivity rate has remained at 1.1 percent for the past seven days. Over the last several weeks, the weekly percentage of emergency department visits for COVID-like illness has been similar to pre-health crisis levels at this time of the year. See the County’s COVID-19 information dashboard for details.

    The age group in the County with the lowest number of vaccinated individuals is residents between 16- and 35-years of age—and the County hopes to increase those numbers. Those in this group can make vaccine appointments through County health department-sponsored clinics and through retail pharmacies throughout the community. The County has one of the highest rates of vaccination in Maryland.

    With an increasing number of vaccinated residents, fewer appointments are being offered at the State’s mass vaccination site on the campus of Montgomery College in Germantown. However, more clinics are being offered near where people live, shop and go to school. See clinic details and appointment links for more details.

    Young people ages 12 to 17 need consent from a parent or guardian to receive the vaccine. Consent is given as part of the online appointment scheduling process, so young residents with an appointment do not need to have a parent or guardian with them. Young residents who walk up without an appointment must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to provide consent. All youth must bring proof of age to the vaccination site.

    Residents of all ages who want to get a vaccine also use the State website to find pharmacies offering the vaccine and make appointments.

    Teens can tell friends why they should get vaccinated through the Take Your Shot video PSA contest. The contest offers entrants from Montgomery County Public Schools five SSL hours. All entrants become eligible for valuable prizes. So far, about 21,400 of the estimated 40,000 eligible 12- to 15-year-olds in the County have received at least one vaccine.

    County Holiday Schedule for Memorial Day, Monday, May 31

    The Montgomery County Government will observe the following schedule changes for the Memorial Day holiday, which will be observed on Monday, May 31:

    Montgomery Commission on Veterans Affairs Honors County’s Fallen Heroes from Military Action Dating Back to World War I With Online Tributes of Bios and Photos

    The Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs is honoring many “Fallen Heroes” with County connections dating back to World War I with detailed tributes displayed on a special website created by the commission. The tributes are especially notable as the County prepares to commemorate Memorial Day on Monday, May 31.

    The Commission on Veterans Affairs Fallen Heroes website honors veterans who were killed in action in World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and the Global War on Terrorism (including Operation Iraqi Freedom / Operation Enduring Freedom / Operation Inherent Resolve / Operation Freedom's Sentinel / Operation New Dawn). The website includes photos and military histories of Fallen Heroes who were either originally from the County or who lived in Montgomery after their service.

    The site can be viewed at

    “It seems that every day we are reminded of how our freedom is so special, and throughout the history of our nation, some special men and women have given their lives to protect that freedom,” said Wayne Miller, a Vietnam veteran who now chairs the County Commission on Veterans Affairs. “The Commission on Veterans Affairs wanted residents of all ages to know more about these people and our Fallen Heroes website is a great way to learn their fascinating and heroic stories.”

    County Executive Marc Elrich said residents should take time to recognize the people who sacrificed their lives while serving the nation.

    “The COVID-19 health crisis has highlighted for us how precious life is—and how quickly it can end,” said County Executive Elrich. “For many County residents who served in the military, their lives ended while serving our country. The Fallen Heroes website shows how ordinary people, when asked to serve their country, answered that call—and sacrificed their lives for others.”

    Anyone who would like to share the story or the story of a friend or family member who should be included in the Fallen Heroes website tribute can e-mail and provide the following information:
    • Servicemember’s name.
    • Your name and your relationship to the individual.
    • Branch of service and rank.
    • Years of service.
    • Brief narrative of their service.
    Live in or once lived in Montgomery County. If they attended high school in the County, name school from where they graduated.
    Photo(s) (preferably one during service time).

    By sending an e-mail with this information, the sender agrees to have the information shared on the County's website and on the Commission on Veterans Affairs social media. Submissions may be edited to conform to Montgomery County Government standards.

    To learn more about the Montgomery Commission on Veterans Affairs, go to

    Maryland Residents Who Receive COVID-19 Vaccinations Can Win $40,000 in Daily Drawings and $400,000 on Fourth of July Via State Promotion with Maryland Lottery

    The effort to administer COVID-19 vaccines and end the health crisis has made significant strides as more residents have become vaccinated. To reward those who have been vaccinated, and encourage others to get vaccinations, the State of Maryland is giving out awards to vaccinated individuals each day between now and July 4, with a major prize of $400,000 being awarded on Independence Day.

    Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland Lottery and the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) have launched the $2 Million VaxCash Promotion, which will award a total of $2 million in cash prizes to 41 Maryland residents who have been vaccinated.

    Daily drawings began Tuesday, with a $40,000 winner chosen each day. Maryland residents 18 and older who have received a COVID-19 vaccination in Maryland at any time are eligible to win. No registration or entry is needed.

    The VaxCash Promotion wraps up on the Fourth of July when a final drawing will award one winner a grand prize of $400,000.

    Each Maryland resident age 18 or older who has been vaccinated in Maryland will be randomly assigned a number in a secure system maintained by MDH, which serves as the custodian of Maryland’s vaccination records. Separately, the Lottery will use a random number generator to select a winning number each day from the total number of people who have been vaccinated.

    MDH will notify the winners, who must provide written consent of their willingness to accept the prize. The Lottery will contact the winners with instructions on how to claim prizes. Winners will be permitted to remain anonymous, but will be encouraged to share their stories.

    Prizes will be paid directly from the Lottery’s marketing budget, and will not diminish the Lottery’s contribution to the Maryland General Fund.
    For more information, go to

    County Public Libraries Set to Reopen 13 Branches Over the Next Two Weeks

    Montgomery County Public Libraries will reopen six branches on Tuesday, June 1, and an additional seven branches on June 14.

    The remaining branches will reopen on July 6, with the exception of the Germantown Library (closed for a refresh project) and Noyes Library for Young Children.

    The hours at all branches will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; and noon to 8 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Additional information will be posted on the MCPL website as it becomes available.

    The libraries that will open on June 1:
    The branches that will open on June 14:
    The 13 branches will follow guidelines that include no appointments, no capacity limits and no social distance requirements. Holds to Go service will be discontinued prior to the reopening of the branches.

    For additional information visit MCPL’s website:

    New Episode of ‘What’s Happening MoCo’ Podcast Focuses on the County’s Reopening After 440 days of COVID Restrictions

    As Montgomery County warms up to encouraging vaccination numbers and its lowest COVID-19 positivity statistics since the health crisis began, the latest episode of the “What’s Happening MoCo” podcast introduces the redefinition of the “new normal.” Jerome Fletcher, one of the County’s assistant chief administrative officers, will provide details of the updated County restrictions starting Friday, May 28, and the continuation of economic recovery efforts. The new episode of What’s Happening MoCo is now available.

    Throughout the pandemic ACAO Fletcher played a key role in keeping residents and businesses abreast of the changing regulations due to COVID. He participated in MoCo4Business podcasts and in town hall meetings for businesses and later introduced a series of reopening town halls. During the podcast interview, ACAO Fletcher reflects on the challenges the County faced over the last year, answers questions about easing restrictions and shares where businesses and residents can find more information.

    The new episode of What’s Happening MoCo is now available.

    The on-demand video of the newest episode can be viewed via the What’s Happening MoCo Facebook page at The podcast also can be heard via several popular podcast platforms including Apple Podcasts at, Amazon Music, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Google Podcasts, and others.

    Learn more about reopening by visiting the Montgomery County government website Businesses can learn more about the restaurant assistance program mentioned during the episode by visiting the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation website

    In past episodes, podcast host Derrick Kenny has talked with guests on a wide variety of subjects. The show’s guests have included elected officials, Montgomery employees who specialize in specific aspects of government, business leaders and entertainers who live in the County. New podcasts are released twice a month.

    Residents and others interested in asking a question or suggesting a topic to be addressed in a future episode are encouraged to engage via the Facebook page or via e-mail at

    What’s Happening MoCo podcast episode archives can be accessed by visiting the podcast’s webpage at

    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 and how many vaccinations have been given by zip code.     

    To find the recent trend in vaccinations by zip code, go to          

    To find the trend on where vaccinations are being given by zip code, go to 

    Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 Information Portal include:          

    County Executive Elrich Submits Letter to WMATA Requesting White Flint Metro Station to be Renamed 'North Bethesda Metro Station'

    Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has submitted a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) requesting that the White Flint Metro Station be renamed the “North Bethesda Metro Station.”

    Beginning in 2020, the County collaborated in station retitling efforts with the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of White Flint, the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee and other community leaders. A public meeting co-sponsored by those groups, the County Executive and the District One County Councilmember Andrew Friedson was held on March 31. The new designation of “North Bethesda” was selected at that meeting.

    “The development of the North Bethesda Metro Station is not only critical to the future economic growth of Montgomery County but the entire state and region,” said County Executive Elrich. “Thanks to our State Delegates in Districts 16 and 18, we have secured $250,000 toward the renaming costs. In addition, the County will contribute $50,000, and there is a commitment that remaining costs will be paid by the key property owners in the immediate vicinity of this station. The choice of ‘North Bethesda’ was the consensus of this community. I expect for generations to come the name ‘North Bethesda’ will be known as an epicenter in the bio-life sciences and quantum computing industries supported by private sector companies, academics, and Federal agencies developed in a 21st Century sustainable and equitable location.”

    "The Metro station is crucial to the viability of this area and our community's vision for it," Councilmember Friedson said. "We need a Metro station that reflects that vision and helps our economic development, regional competitiveness and placemaking efforts so the Pike District and North Bethesda become an even more vibrant, walkable, and livable destination."

    In 2010, Montgomery County completed a comprehensive update to the White Flint Sector Plan. Since that time, much has changed in North Bethesda including the former White Flint Mall which was dismantled between 2017 and 2020. A key goal for the community—both residential and business—is identity.

    "The entire Montgomery County House and Senate Delegations recognize the economic potential of ‘North Bethesda,’ said Marc Korman, a Maryland Delegate from District 16. “Rebranding the Metro Station is crucial to achieving that success and we were pleased to fight to obtain that State investment,"

    Disability and Human Rights Advocate Haben Girma to Join the ‘Contemporary Conversations’ Series at Montgomery County Public Libraries

    Haben Girma, recipient of the Helen Keller Achievement Award for her tireless advocacy for people with disabilities, will participate in Montgomery County Public Libraries’ (MCPL) virtual “Contemporary Conversations” series at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 5. She will discuss “Conquering Harvard Law and Becoming a Disability and Human Rights Advocate.”

    The first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Ms. Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice and teaching organizations the importance of choosing inclusion.

    Ms. Girma believes that having a disability can be an opportunity for innovation. She will talk about her memoir, “Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law,” how she became an advocate and her journey from isolation to extraordinary accomplishment.

    Ms. Girma will be in conversation with Kim Jones, the chief executive officer of the Nonprofit Village. Ms. Jones is has been honored as one of the Top 100 Women of Maryland and is a recipient of the Leadership Montgomery Distinguished Graduate Award in 2019.

    “We are pleased to bring a person with such passion for advocacy, inclusion and justice to our Contemporary Conversations series,” said MCPL Director Anita Vassallo. “Haben Girma’s journey to becoming a leader in the field of human and disability rights is an inspiration to us all.”

    The event is free, but registration is required.

    The event is cosponsored by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. For more information, email

    Sign language interpretation and captioning will be provided. Questions about accessibility or accommodation can be directed to Assistant Facilities and Accessibility Program Manager Elizabeth Lang at 240-672-8818 or at

    ‘Keeping It Safe Coalition’ Announces Student Video Contest Winners and Recipients of Community Service Awards

    Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) and the Montgomery County Police Department have announced the high school and middle school winners of the 2020-21 “Keeping it Safe Coalition” (KIS) student video contest. The annual contest encourages teams from Montgomery County public and private schools to create 30-second public service announcements to educate young people about the risks of under 21 alcohol use.

    The winning entries receive cash prizes for their affiliated school. In this year’s contest, 57 videos were submitted from 22 schools.

    The first-place winner in the high school contest was Springbrook of Silver Spring, represented by students James Diaz and Gabriel Diaz. The first-place winner in the middle school contest was Julius West of Rockville, represented by students Jason Yu and Chris Min.

    “This contest provides students with the opportunity to learn about the dangers of under 21 alcohol use by creating a public service message that is relatable to their peers,” said Gabriela Monzon-Reynolds, who manages the KIS coalition as the ABS community outreach manager.

    Winning school groups were announced through a virtual awards ceremony. The winning videos can be viewed from the ABS website.

    The 2020-21 high school award winners:
    • First Place: Springbrook High School. Students James Diaz and Gabriel Diaz. Will receive a $1,000 prize.
    • Second Place: Winston Churchill High School. Students Ida Chen, Allison Fan, and Kaitlyn Li. School sponsor Debra Feldman. Will receive a $500 prize.
    • Third Place: Winston Churchill High School. Student Mariana Uribe. Will receive a $250 prize.
    The 2020-21 middle school award winners:
    • First Place: Julius West Middle School. Students Jason Yu and Chris Min. Will receive a $500 prize.
    • Second Place: Eastern Middle School. Students Asher Anantham and Eric Stewart. School sponsor Warren Scheib III. Will receive a $300 prize.
    • Third Place: Neelsville Middle School. Student Simona Thomas. Will receive a $200 prize.
    The KIS Coalition also presented Community Service Awards to Montgomery County Assistant Police Chief Thomas Didone and ABS Director Kathie Durbin for their long-standing commitment to under 21 alcohol prevention.

    “Public safety is a top priority for ABS, and we are a long-time supporter of this program,” said Director Durbin. “These student-created peer to peer messages work to encourage young people to make healthy decisions.”

    Founded in 1992, the Keeping It Safe Coalition is an alliance of County departments, local organizations and concerned residents that works to deter underage alcohol access and use. The student video contest was funded by the County Department of Police’s Traffic Division and the County Police Foundation.

    Through robust alcohol licensing, compliance and training programs, the Division of Licensing, Regulation and Education within ABS ensures the responsible sale and service of alcohol. It has been an active supporter of KIS for decades.

    ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County. ABS operates 25 beer, wine and spirits stores and one spirits-only store in Poolesville. It manages alcohol licensing, enforcement, and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, ABS profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the County general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.

    County Announces Recipients of 2021 Recycling Achievement Recognition


    Montgomery County's celebration of its 22nd Annual Recycling Awareness Week from May 24-28 will include the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recognizing outstanding achievements in waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

    The awardees are being honored for their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle right. Each recipient is a model for all residents, multi-family properties and businesses to follow and replicate

    “These leaders demonstrate, that even in difficult times, they are committed to reducing waste and recycling everything that can be recycled in the County,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “These efforts benefit our entire County and our environment.”

    DEP Director Adam Ortiz said the recipients recognized demonstrate how all members of the community can contribute to helping the County reach its waste reduction and recycling goals.

    “The past year has been a challenge for everyone. Yet, many businesses, multi-family properties and individuals continued to focus on efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle right,” said DEP Director Ortiz. “This week, we are highlighting some of these outstanding efforts. DEP congratulates each of our recognition recipients and thanks all of them for dedicating time and efforts to Montgomery County’s recycling program. They are helping us reach our ambitious goal to reduce waste and recycle more as we aim for zero waste.”

    Recycling Volunteers—Recycling Champion

    Awarded to County Recycling Volunteers who support the efforts of DEP’s Recycling and Resource Management Division—Waste Reduction and Recycling Section and who make a positive difference in their community. These individuals work diligently to engage others to actively participate in waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts. Recognition is based upon the number of hours of volunteer service is provided and/or the number of events and/or activities in which the recycling volunteers participated.
    • Sanjukta Sil Upadhyay, Germantown. Since joining the Montgomery County Recycling Volunteer Program in 2015, Sanjukta has volunteered more than 100 hours and has participated in numerous events and activities. In the past seven years, Sanjukta helped increase resident awareness of recycling by participating in several parades, the County Fair and many special projects. During the COVID-19 health crisis, Sanjukta provided more than 30 hours of making phone calls to more than 600 residents as part of a phone survey for the County’s backyard food scraps recycling program.

    Multi-Family—Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling

    Awarded to multi-family properties that have undertaken exemplary efforts to develop, expand or enhance waste reduction and recycling programs. Information is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
    • Blair House, Silver Spring. Blair House has worked on its green initiatives to reduce waste, recycle right and increase residential participation. The goal of its program is to focus on waste reduction efforts for residents as well as to continue opportunities for recycling many different types of more difficult to manage materials, such as fluorescent lights, carpeting and food scraps. The property’s newsletter and welcome packet are methods used to provide information about these opportunities. One initiative is that some of the apartments have recycling centers built directly into the kitchen cabinetry to increase residential participation. Blair House continues to recycle food scraps, a program it started in 2015. In 2020, its waste diversion and recycling rate was 80 percent.
    • Falkland Chase, Silver Spring. The multi-family community is committed to reducing the amount of waste generated and increase recycling. Property management, staff and residents have embraced Montgomery County’s “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle Right efforts.” Residential educational events help residents learn how to recycle right and reduce contamination of recyclable materials. These efforts include interactive activities aimed at reducing waste and recycling right.
    • Galvan, Rockville. With a focus on waste reduction as well as improving recycling, the property management team created a holistic approach for residents to reduce waste, while ensuring that materials are diverted into recycling and reuse streams. The Galvan provides quarterly diversion reports and education for residents. Janitorial services staff uses presentations, walk-through assessments and scorecards to encourage recycling. Recycling information is posted in common areas on-site, as well as through an app used by about 90 percent of residents. As part of Earth Day and America Recycles Day events, residents are provided with recycling tips, statistics and games focused on reducing, reusing and recycling. Prizes such as reusable water bottles or tote bags are given out to encourage sustainable practices.
    • Garland Towers, Takoma Park. Community members at Garland Towers hold each other accountable regarding recycling through awareness and education. Educational and informational notices about recycling are posted throughout the buildings. Residents hold on-site yard sales instead of disposing of lightly used items. There also is a designated “freecycle” area located in the laundry room where residents can place items that are no longer needed, allowing other residents to give items a second chance to be put to good use. Items not taken by residents are delivered to a reuse thrift store for donation.
    • Lionsgate at Woodmont Corner, Bethesda. The property management team at Lionsgate does a great job to improve the quality of materials collected for recycling. The property manager sends out weekly tips in the resident newsletter that keep recycling awareness at the forefront. To reduce the amount of waste generated, the property installed a water bottle filler for residents and employees to encourage the use of reusable water bottles to reduce plastic waste.
    • Maplewood Park Apartments, Bethesda. The property management team provides information about recycling at move-in time for new residents with educational materials. It also provides a tour of the property’s recycling collection area where residents take their materials and hosts a resident meeting to discuss on-site recycling. The property newsletter is used to educate residents how to recycle right. These efforts result in the recycling of many types of materials diverted from the waste stream such as batteries, carpeting, food scraps, building materials, fluorescent lights, cooking oil, paint and plastic hangers. Maplewood Park Apartments’ efforts to reduce waste and recycle can be seen in its waste diversion and recycling rate, which reached 74 percent in 2020.
    • The Elizabeth Condominium, Chevy Chase. When it comes to the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle) of managing solid waste, reuse is emphasized at The Elizabeth Condominium through donations of old computers and printers to schools in need. The preference of using electronic notifications and double-sided printing exhibits a commitment to waste reduction. In addition, there is a container on-site for residents to place items that are in good working condition for reuse, such as small appliances, books and furniture. The property partners with A Wider Circle to ensure these items are reused to help residents in need.
    • The Waterford Condominium, Kensington. As residents remained at home due to the COVID-19 health crisis, the amount of waste generated in 2020 increased. As a result, the Waterford Condominium stepped up its recycling efforts by developing a Green Team and created new, updated recycling signage. Using outreach and education, along with emphasizing the importance of reducing recycling contamination, the Waterford Condominium recycled more materials in 2020 and achieved a waste reduction and recycling rate of 62 percent.

    Multi-Family Property—Green Team Leader of the Year

    Awarded to individuals who made a positive difference in their multi-family communities to keep Montgomery County clean, green and beautiful. They help maintain the quality of life in their multi-family communities, working diligently to engage others to actively participate in waste reduction, reuse and recycling efforts. Information obtained is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
    • Veronica Magan – MICA Condominium, Silver Spring. The co-chair of MICA Condominium’s Green Team, Ms. Magan, along with co-chair Manal Ahmad, has led the team in establishing a food scraps recycling program that is available to residents. The community quickly outgrew its 35-gallon food scraps recycling container and now fills a 65-gallon container that is collected weekly. Ms. Magan also coordinated a virtual education event during the COVID-19 health crisis to ensure residents were provided with information to recycle right, including information about recycling food scraps.

    Business—Outstanding Efforts in Waste Reduction and Recycling

    Awarded to businesses that have undertaken exemplary efforts to develop, expand or enhance their waste reduction and recycling programs. Information obtained is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
    • Bikes for the World, Rockville. A leader in reducing waste, reusing materials and recycling, the organization demonstrates waste reduction and reuse by sending donated bikes in good working condition to people around the world to use for transportation and recreation. For bicycles not in good condition, Bikes for the World removes and reuses components for spare parts. Anything left that cannot be salvaged is recycled as scrap metal. Employees also are committed to reducing the amount of waste by bringing their lunches in reusable containers. In 2020, Bikes for the World had a waste diversion and recycling rate of 95 percent.
    • CSAAC, Montgomery Village. In 2020, CSAAC expanded its recycling program by recycling cell phones and unwanted and outdated computers. Staff placed mixed paper recycling containers in each training room and classroom to make it easier for students and adults with autism to recycle. CSAAC also strives to educate staff and program participants on the importance of recycling right.
    • Colesville United Methodist Church/Jamon Montessori School, Silver Spring. The staff and parishioners have never wavered in the recycling and sustainability goals for their shared property. Even as students were sent home and congregations ceased gathering due to the COVID-19 health crisis, office staff continued to recycle. Students and parishioners are kept informed on sustainability and recycling efforts and are active participants in the programs. In addition to the required recyclable materials, they have a textile recycling program that is accessible to students, parishioners and their community.
    • Kenwood Golf & Country Club, Bethesda. Working over the past few years to increase waste diversion and recycling efforts, the club in 2019 increased recycling efforts by adding containers for easier access by members and guests throughout the pool area, tennis courts and golf course. In 2020, Kenwood Golf & Country Club took an additional step by recycling food scraps as part of the Montgomery County Commercial Food Scraps Recycling Program. The club also switched to fully compostable straws and beverage cups, furthering its commitment to waste reduction and to keep single-use plastics out of the waste stream.
    • Montgomery County Public Libraries, Rockville. In 2020, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) worked to make recycling education more accessible to residents who, due to the COVID-19 health crisis, found themselves producing a greater amount of waste and recyclable materials as they worked and attended school virtually from home. MCPL hosted multiple virtual presentations and webinars on waste reduction, reuse, recycling right and backyard composting. These efforts provided residents with actions that they can take home to reduce waste, reuse materials, reduce contamination of recyclable materials and divert more items from the waste stream. MCPL staff enhanced recycling stations at more than 10 libraries and coordinated virtual recycling trainings for staff on what can and cannot be recycled. To minimize waste generation during the health crisis, staff used reusable bags that residents picked up as part of the book hold program.
    • Suburban Hospital/Johns Hopkins Medicine, Bethesda. The hospital has made great strides to sustainability and waste reduction over the past several years. It partnered with a waste reduction consulting group to find additional ways to reduce their waste and increase recycling. During 2020, the hospital completely revamped its recycling program with placement of color-coded, dual stream recycling containers and educational materials placed throughout the campus. The commitment to recycling did not waiver despite the increased demands on hospital staff during the health emergency. In 2020, recycling food scraps and batteries enabled Suburban Hospital to increase its waste diversion and recycling rate to 72 percent.
    • Target Stores in Montgomery County: Gaithersburg, Rockville and Silver Spring. The Target Corporation has made a strong commitment to sustainability in many of its store operations from auditing logistics in its supply chain, purchasing products from green businesses and closely monitoring recycling practices in each store. Target offers customers the opportunity to recycle additional materials that they can bring from home, including ink toner cartridges, MP3 players, plastic hangers, plastic bags and film. By providing these recycling services, Target is a partner in increasing recycling achievement and working toward zero waste.
    • United Therapeutics Corporation, Silver Spring. The company is dedicated to improving the environment, pursuing all possible waste streams and reducing its overall environmental impact. During the COVID-19 health crisis, its production never stopped, and neither did its recycling efforts. The staff started a pre- and post-consumer food scraps recycling program and an innovative K-cup beverage pod recycling program. Employees are constantly learning ways to reduce, reuse or recycle through comprehensive programs and trainings.
    • The Universities at Shady Grove (USG), Rockville. Through an efficient and well-maintained recycling program, USG has consistently had a waste diversion and recycling rate c above 70 percent. The campus works hard to promote sustainability to students, staff, teachers, campus contractors and visitors by continuously updating its website and posting signage and displays to promote greater recycling awareness, education and participation. The campus has been composting food scraps for more than five years in its cafeteria and cafĂ©. USG recycles empty printer and toner cartridges, batteries, cell phones and cell phone chargers. Student clubs host seasonal clothing and food donation drives to benefit local charitable organizations. To reduce single-use plastic waste, filtered water fountains are provided throughout the campus. USG also works closely with the University of Maryland’s "TerpTrader" program to reuse and recycle electronics and furniture. During the COVID-19 health crisis, the University’s Green Team continued sustainability initiatives by reducing the amount of plastic waste produced in its labs and working to retrofit recycling stations in its parking garages.

    Business—Waste Reduction and Recycling Champion Awards

    Awarded to individuals who made a positive difference in their workplace to keep land, air and water clean. These individuals maintain a healthy environment in their workplaces by engaging others to actively participate in waste reduction and recycling efforts. Recognition is based upon interactions with DEP/Waste Reduction and Recycling staff.
    • Austin Aubinoe – Aubinoe Property Management, Rockville. The vice president at Aubinoe, he has demonstrated a commitment to improve the recycling program at Middlebrook Square Shopping Center in Germantown. The results can be seen through the regular updates provided to tenants to make sure they know how to recycle right.
    • Denise Wade – Montgomery County Department of General Services, Potomac. As a property manager of the Facilities Management Division, Ms. Wade helped increase recycling participation at more than 40 County-owned properties and facilities. The efforts include enhanced electronic recycling and scrap metal recycling efforts despite changes in facility operations due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Ms. Wade worked to transition waste and recycling programs at more than 170 County locations to a new refuse and recycling collection service provider. She renegotiated trash and recycling contracts, oversaw delivery and placement of appropriate refuse and recycling containers, enhanced recycling signage, provided bi-lingual education and training to staff and quickly resolved issues of recycling contamination.

    Commercial Recycling Partnerships

    DEP’s Recycling and Resource Management Division—Waste Reduction and Recycling Section recognizes the contributions of its commercial food scraps recycling partners to increase recycling achievement by separating pre-consumer food scraps from the waste stream and recycling them through the commercial food scraps recycling program. Despite the impacts of the COVID-19 health crisis, the partners, each of which began its participation at various times during this inaugural year of the program, separated and recycled more than 316,000 pounds of food scraps in less time than the program’s initial year:
    • Chevy Chase Club, Chevy Chase
    • GlaxoSmithKline, Rockville
    • John L. Gildner Regional Institute for Children & Adolescents, Rockville
    • Kenwood Country Club, Bethesda
    • Manna Food Center, Gaithersburg
    • Puree Artisan Juice Bar, Rockville
    • Qiagen, Germantown
    • Quartermaine Coffee Roasters, Bethesda
    • Relish Catering, Rockville
    • Shepherd’s Table, Silver Spring
    • Simply Fresh Events Catering, Gaithersburg
    • So What Else, Inc., Rockville
    For more information on the 2021 Recycling Achievement awardees, visit for a detailed listing of their efforts.

    To Help Prevent Trash Fires, the Department of Environmental Protection Asks Residents to Take Extra Care Before Throwing Materials into Trash

    As residents take on spring cleaning, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reminding everyone to be mindful of what they throw into the trash as certain items can cause trash fires.

    Improperly disposed materials can cause fires in trash cans, on trash trucks and at the County Transfer Station and Recycling Center.

    “Spring cleaning is a great time for us to remind all residents how important it is to take extra care before throwing materials into the trash or recycling bins,” said DEP Director Adam Ortiz. “We have seen fires caused by improperly disposed materials, such as batteries and propane canisters. We want everyone to be safe as they take on spring cleaning and throughout the year.”

    Do not place the following materials in the trash:
    When these materials come in contact with other materials in the trash, the combination can be volatile and catch fire.

    Properly dispose of these items through the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program or other special collection processes available at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station.

    Additional information on the proper handling of other items is available on the County’s “I want to recycle or dispose of …” page.

    May 20, 2021

    Message from the County Executive

    Dear Friends,

    This has been a good week! More than 50 percent of our residents have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines or the single dose of Johnson & Johnson vaccine. We reached that milestone last Friday. We had previously set metrics for reopening that were tied to our vaccination rates, and the final metric stipulated that two weeks after reaching that 50 percent mark, we would align with the State’s guidance. We used two weeks because a person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the final (or single) dose.

    I also know that there has been confusion around the guidance for face coverings. You can read about reopening and face coverings here.

    I will also try to explain it. Everyone must continue to wear face coverings on public transportation, in schools and in childcare and health care settings. People who are not fully vaccinated must still wear face coverings indoors in public areas and where interaction with others is likely or where food is prepared. Face coverings are no longer required outdoors, but the Maryland Department of Health strongly recommends that all non-vaccinated individuals over the age of 2 years continue to wear face coverings in all indoor settings and in outdoor settings where physical distancing cannot be maintained.

    · Private establishments and workplaces may put in place their own policies or guidance. I want to encourage people to respect those choices. It is critical to remember that any establishment can require masks.

    · I ask that we respect everyone’s comfort level with masking. Some people may prefer to wear face coverings even if they are no longer required, and that is a valid choice. So please keep your mask with you—do not leave it at home.

    While we are making tremendous progress, I do not want people to forget that this virus is still out there, and that about 50 percent of our residents are not yet vaccinated. In addition, 13 percent of our population is under 12 so they are not eligible for the vaccine—at least not right now. Our case and positivity rates are down significantly and we are finally at the point of a low risk of transmission. This also is great news. However, people are still getting sick and dying from this disease and we remain committed to focusing on the health and safety of our residents.

    Toward that end, we are trying to get as many people vaccinated as possible. We are providing clinics throughout the County, including mobile clinics that take the vaccines to our vulnerable populations who have been hard hit by this virus and who may not have the time or information to get vaccinated. Last Saturday, I went to one of these clinics at St. Camillius church where they had many more people walking up for a vaccine than they had expected. (They had enough vaccines for them all.)

    As many of you know, we have also started vaccinating children as young as 12. Since the Pfizer vaccine was approved for 12- to 15-year-olds, we have vaccinated more than 10,000 adolescents at our clinics. We also hosted a vaccine clinic at Argyle Middle School yesterday, trying to reach adolescents (the clinic was open to all). Our vaccine website has the information on how to make an appointment at vaccination clinics.

    This week, I joined in the celebration of Taste the World in Fenton Village in Silver Spring. I was happy to be able to support the restaurants and to talk with restaurant owners about the newest round of the MoCo Restaurant Relief Fund, which began yesterday. Our restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit during this pandemic, and I am glad we are able to help them some and hope that they are able to recoup their losses and resume normal operations.

    Many renters have been hit hard by this pandemic, and with great support from our Federal and State leaders, we are providing more than $100 million to help our most vulnerable residents avoid losing their homes. Together with elected leaders around the State and Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, we continue to urge Governor Hogan to extend the eviction moratorium for 90-120 days to give us time to get these funds to tenants and their landlords. It does not make sense to allow these evictions now when help is on the way. We also are working with nonprofit partners to provide legal help to tenants before and at eviction proceedings. When the tenants get legal assistance, the overwhelming majority get some relief from the courts.

    On a different subject, tomorrow is Bike to Work Day in the Washington Region. The County is sponsoring 15 pit stops around the County. Many of us are still not returning to offices, but we can still hop on our bikes. I will be heading to the stop in Takoma Park and there are stops around the County. More information is available here.

    I want to again thank all of you for your patience and understanding throughout this pandemic. You have understood the need to follow the science to protect the health of all of us. And now, thanks to you, we are re-emerging into life around us.

    Speaking of emerging, some of my staff, friends and neighbors have been enjoying the phenomena of the emerging cicadas after their 17-year sojourn underground. This year all of us are slowly emerging from this very long, difficult time.

    With appreciation,

    Marc Elrich
    County Executive

    May 19, 2021

    County Hits Key COVID-19 Vaccine Metrics and Moves to Next Phase of Reopening; Most County Restrictions Will End on May 28

    Montgomery County earlier this week moved to its next phase of reopening as more residents receive COVID-19 vaccines. On Friday, May 28, most restrictions that have been in place for safety reasons will be lifted. The County Council, acting as the Board of Health and in consultation with County health officials and County Executive Marc Elrich, approved moving to the new reopening phases.

    Travis Gayles, the County health officer, reported this week that 60 percent of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That benchmark put in effect Phase Two of the County plan to allow businesses, restaurants and houses of worship to return to 75 percent of capacity. The new phase also eliminated all outdoor capacity limits and increased indoor capacity limits to 250 people for venues including camps and sports venues. Convention and banquet facilities can now operate at 50 percent capacity.

    More than 50 percent of County residents have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, which met the County requirement to allow full reopening guidelines in line with the State of Maryland. That threshold also will allow most capacity and distancing restrictions for County indoor and outdoor businesses and venues to be lifted at 6 a.m. on May 28.

    The regulation approved this week by the Board of Health also lifts the County’s outdoor mask mandate and permits people who are fully vaccinated to not need masks indoors, except in circumstances provided by the Maryland Department of Health. The State health department currently requires mask mandates in healthcare settings, schools and on public transportation.

    Montgomery County's phased approach to reopening driven by public health data and guidance has resulted in a low rate of transmission of COVID-19. The seven-day average of cases per 100,000 residents is less than four—a measure that continues to decline as vaccinations increase. The County continues to have a low, 14-day COVID-19 test positivity rate of 1.6 percent.

    Residents who are not yet vaccinated should do so as soon as possible. Free and convenient vaccination appointments and walk-in opportunities are available at multiple locations across the County. More vaccine information is available at or by calling 240-777-2982.

    The new amended Board of Health regulation can be viewed here. Visit the website for more information.