• Elrich Extends COVID-19 Restrictions

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    May 14, 2020
    A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich


    Dear Friends,

    As your County Executive, my goal is to keep the one million people in our County safe, and sometimes that means making difficult decisions. While the Governor has announced he is lifting the state’s stay at home order and moving into phase one of recovery, here in Montgomery County we are not ready to take that step. That’s why I am issuing an Executive Order extending the stay at home order here in the County.

    While we have made progress, we have not reached the necessary benchmarks for us to safely reopen. We are not alone in this situation. Prince George’s County has also maintained its stay at home order, and others in Maryland share our concerns about opening prematurely. We are working with others who have similar policies about what is appropriate. And I note that the Governor’s order still maintains multiple restrictions including curbside pickup and delivery only for restaurants and continued closures for many entities like theaters, all internal entrances for malls and fitness centers.

    The Governor acknowledged at his Wednesday news conference that only four of the counties in the state have about 70% of the cases. Montgomery County has the second highest number of cases in the state behind Prince George’s County, and the highest number of deaths at nearly 400. Our region is densely populated, unlike other parts of the state like Western Maryland, and is adjacent to Washington, DC and Northern Virginia, which also have ongoing restrictions. In consultation with our public health officer and other public health officials, we have written specific guidelines tailored to our community to help us determine when it is safe to reopen. We need to see:
    1. A sustained decrease during a 14-day period of new cases in an environment of increased testing
    2. A sustained decrease in the COVID-19 related hospitalization rate
    3. A sustained decrease in the percentage of COVID-19 related ICU beds in use
    4. A sustained decrease in the number of COVID-19 related daily deaths
    5. A sustained decrease in the number of COVID-19 related patients going to County emergency rooms
    We are headed in the right direction. We have increased testing, contact tracing, equipment, and hospital capacity. These efforts will make our community safer, but we have to make sure that they are sufficiently implemented.

    As a reminder, when you go out, please continue physical distancing and wearing face coverings. And you can go for a walk – I encourage you to get some fresh air and exercise if you are able.
    I know this is very difficult for all of us. Our businesses are eager to reopen, and we would like to resume our usual activities, but we risk undoing our progress if we stop now. We cannot go backwards. We will keep you updated as we work toward being able to safely reopen our County. We will get through this – together.

     Marc Elrich
    Marc Elrich, County Executive