Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and current Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles both advocated for implementing a vaccine passport in Montgomery County during yesterday’s media briefing.
Below you will see notes and quotes from the briefing:
• Positivity rate is 3.51% and case rate is 15.04 per 100,000. Montgomery County’s 7-day community transmission has gone from substantial to high, according to the CDC, joining most of the other jurisdictions in Maryland (“we’re at the low range of the high range”).
Quotes from County Executive Marc Elrich:
“If people were vaccinated, this would not be happening.”
“Like the rest of the country, our numbers are going in the wrong direction.”
”I know they like to talk about the vaccinated getting sick, but the beginning of the line of exposure of any vaccinated person getting sick is…they’re getting it from somebody else who’s unvaccinated.”
“Our vaccination rates are really strong. Our hospitalizations and deaths remain lower than when we had similarly high rates before the vaccine.”
”73.3% of our total population are fully vaccinated and that’s 20 higher than the National average. When we say total population, this means everybody under 12 who can’t be vaccinated is included in that total.”
“86.4% of eligible population is fully vaccinated.”
“It’s clear to me that if we are going to avoid these cases, and avoid watching this spin out of control like it did last winter, we have to implement a vaccine passport program.”
“When cases are higher, there’s more anxiety about possible exposure. This hurts businesses who have already had a miserable 18 months.”
“…restaurants aren’t even close to capacity. I talk to people about going out to dinner…so many people I know will not go to indoor dining and the reason they give it is they don’t know who’s sitting next to them.”
“The vaccine passports would give customers the assurance that if you go into a restaurant the person sitting in that same room with you is either vaccinated or has a negative test that was done I the last 72 hours.”
”Vaccine passports aren’t gonna keep customers away. What they may do is tell more restaurants to come to your restaurant because they’ll know, with the vaccine passport, that the people who could infect them aren’t gonna be in the restaurant.”
”I’m encouraging this [vaccine passport]. Voluntarily, we’ve had a bunch of restaurants moving in that direction, and we’re also gonna consider that the council consider doing it.”
”If I was more restrictive, people would worry that they [customers] would go to a less restrictive place. By allowing us to maintain our capacity, and ability to serve people, we actually could become the destination to go to…when people have the co ride de level that dining in Montgomery County, being in Montgomery County, is safer than it is in other places we may actually see more customers rather than fewer customers.”
Quotes from Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles:
“From a public health perspective, that [vaccine passport] is something we would feel comfortable recommending and supporting.”
”It avoids having to potentially put in restrictions around capacity limits and things like that.”
“We look forward to continuing those conversations and exploring those options to put that forward as an option for our residents within our county.”
The full 46 minute media briefing can be seen here.