Montgomery County will remain in Phase 2 as the State moves to its Phase 3 reopening, which went into effect today at 5 p.m. Montgomery County’s current case count is higher than it was when the County entered Phase 2 several months ago. Daily case counts in late June when the County entered Phase 2 averaged 67 cases per day. The current seven-day average of new confirmed cases is 85.
Venues such as indoor and outdoor restaurants may now include live performances as part of their dining experience. However, establishments are prohibited from allowing dancing or congregating in front of the performers. Individuals present must still wear masks unless they are eating or drinking (and they must be seated while eating and drinking). The new live-music guidelines go into effect immediately. On Wednesday evening, the Governor announced that more activities would be allowed under Phase 3; they are being reviewed to determine if the County could also allow some version of those activities.
“Although we will not be moving into Phase 3, we will continue to evaluate areas where restrictions might be modified,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Allowing live music with restrictions at restaurants is an example of the cautious steps that we are taking toward reopening; and we will work on appropriate guidance for other live venues beyond what we’re doing for restaurants. Our careful, measured approach using data and science to make our decisions is likely part of the reasons that transmission of the virus in Montgomery County has remained relatively stable over the last few months.”
Baltimore City, and Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties have also decided to remain in Phase 2. Health officials are concerned that moving to Phase 3 will cause case counts to go up across Maryland, including in Montgomery County.
“We have made progress in addressing the pandemic, but the crisis is not over,” said County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles. “As we entire the holiday weekend, we must continue to be vigilant about wearing masks, maintaining physical distance and limiting the size of social gatherings. We will continue to look at the science to determine additional adjustments and slowly open things safely.”