Montgomery County Health Officer Requests Automatic Termination of Indoor Mask Mandate be Rescinded and Other Amendments up for Public Hearing/Vote During January 4 Meeting

by MCS Staff
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Council meets on Jan. 4 to introduce, hold a public hearing and vote on an amended Board of Health regulation

For Immediate Release

ROCKVILLE, Md., Dec. 30, 2021—The Montgomery County Council will meet virtually via Zoom as the Board of Health on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 to introduce, hold a public hearing and vote on a First Amended Board of Health Regulation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to update indoor masking guidance in Montgomery County. The public hearing on the First Amended Board of Health Regulation will be held at 10 a.m. The Council meeting will begin at 9 a.m. with public health updates. 

Montgomery County’s current Board of Health regulation, which was issued on Nov. 2, 2021, required face coverings to be worn indoors in public areas of the County, with some exceptions, during periods of substantial or high COVID-19 transmission.  The Nov. 2 Board of Health Regulation terminates without further action when 85 percent of the total Montgomery County population is fully vaccinated.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 omicron variant has pushed the County and other areas of the country into an extended period of high COVID-19 transmission. Consequently, Acting Health Officer Dr. James Bridgers requested that the Board of Health rescind the automatic termination of the indoor mask mandate at its meeting on Jan. 4, 2022. 

The First Amended Board of Health Regulation to prevent the spread of COVID-19 would continue the indoor masking requirements at any location accessible to the public in Montgomery County by doing the following:

  • rescinding the automatic termination of the indoor mask mandate upon reaching 85 percent of the population being fully vaccinated;
  • removing the requirement to end the indoor mask mandate when the County moves into moderate transmission;
  • continuing the indoor mask mandate until the Board of Health rescinds it in a formal order;
  • requiring the Board of Health to meet every two weeks to review data on community transmission and consider whether the indoor mask mandate should continue; and
  • eliminating the outdated language requiring the County Executive to provide status updates on the County’s employee vaccination mandate.

If adopted by the Board of Health, the amended regulation would become effective on Jan. 5, 2022 at 12 a.m. 

Students are still required to wear face coverings in schools based on requirements from the Maryland State Department of Education. Moreover, face coverings are still required on public transportation as required by the Transportation Security Administration.  

The deadline to sign up for the virtual public hearing is Monday, Jan. 3 at 2 p.m. As soon as the Board of Health regulation is available it will be posted on the Council’s web page.

Residents can sign up to testify via Zoom here. If you are not available for the public hearing but want to provide testimony to the Council you can do so by submitting written, audio or video testimony here. More information can be found at the Montgomery County Council’s webpage at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council

The Council meeting is being conducted remotely via Zoom and will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery (Xfinity channels 6 and 996, RCN channels 6 and 1056; and FiOS channel 30). The meeting is also available live via streaming through the Council website at http://tinyurl.com/z9982v8, Facebook Live (@MontgomeryCountyMdCouncil or @ConcejodelCondadodeMontgomery), or YouTube (@MoCoCouncilMD).

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