Montgomery County suspended its mandate requiring masks or face coverings indoors in locations accessible to the public on Thursday, Oct. 28, after James Bridgers, the acting County health officer, announced that it achieved seven consecutive days of “moderate transmission” of COVID-19.
The guidelines for suspending the mandate, outlined in Board of Health regulation 19-975, were adopted by the County Council—acting in its role as the Board of Health—on Aug. 5. If the County’s rate of transmission again increases to “substantial transmission,” the indoor mask mandate will be reinstated.
Although the mandate is no longer in effect, businesses and other organizations can continue to require customers or visitors to wear a mask in their establishments. The County is strongly recommending that all staff and visitors in County Government offices and facilities continue to wear a mask or face covering in publicly accessible areas. The lifting of the indoor mandate from the Board of Health does not impact mask requirements in Montgomery County Public Schools. The Maryland State Department of Education sets policy for public schools.
“The lifting of our indoor mask mandate is a significant achievement for Montgomery County and its residents,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We got here because the people and businesses of this County accepted and adhered to the guidance we provided. Even though the mandate has been lifted, I will continue to wear a mask indoors and while in crowded outdoor settings because wearing a mask, as well as being fully vaccinated, are the best ways to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends that individuals who are unvaccinated should continue to wear mask or face covering when indoors or in crowded areas to minimize the potential spread of the virus.