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 https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/vaccine/ or by calling 240-777-2982.
The new amended Board of Health regulation can be viewed here. Visit the website for more information.