February 23, 2022

County Lifts Indoor Mask Requirement

Montgomery County has terminated its mandate requiring masks or face coverings indoors in locations accessible to the public. However, County Executive Marc Elrich still advises that voluntarily wearing a mask indoors remains one of the best defenses against the COVID-19 virus.

The County Council, meeting as the Board of Health on Jan. 25, enacted an updated regulation that terminated the County’s indoor masking guidance in public spaces as of 11:59 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21.

“I continue to appreciate everything our residents and businesses have done and continue to do to keep our residents, employees and visitors safe,” said County Executive Elrich. “That work and support have been essential in reducing our transmission. While masks will no longer be required in indoor public spaces, I will generally continue to wear a mask in indoor public spaces because wearing a mask, as well as being fully vaccinated and boosted, are the best ways to reduce the risk of transmitting and getting COVID-19. We will continue to monitor the situation, and if there should be another surge, based on our experience over the last two years, we know what we need to do to reduce the risk.”

Businesses and other organizations, if they choose, can still continue to require customers or visitors to wear a mask in their establishments. The County is strongly recommending that front-facing staff, who have not received their COVID booster vaccine, 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 by the Board of Health does not impact mask requirements in Montgomery County Public Schools. The Maryland State Department of Education and Montgomery County Board of Education set policy for public schools in the County.

"I want to thank all the Montgomery County residents who have been vaccinated, boosted and followed the public health guidance to get us to this stage, so we can suspend the indoor mask mandate," said Council President Gabe Albornoz, who also serves as the chair of the Council's Health and Human Services Committee. "In consultation with our outstanding public health team, we have determined that an indoor mask mandate is not required at this point because Montgomery County's vaccination rates are some of the best in the nation and case rates, hospitalizations, and community transmission rates are low.

"We ask everyone to respect the decisions made by individuals who continue to wear masks and the rules instituted by businesses, health care and service providers and venues located in Montgomery County. The Council will continue to monitor COVID-19 trends and developments with County Executive Elrich and our public health experts, as the pandemic begins to transition into an endemic stage."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommend that individuals who are unvaccinated should continue to wear a mask or face covering when indoors or in crowded areas to minimize the potential spread of the virus.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook @MontgomeryCountyInfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.