Montgomery Co. leaders respond to Gov. Hogan’s Phase Three announcement

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Since Maryland started its reopening process months ago, Montgomery County has been hesitant to follow Governor Larry Hogan’s (R-Md.) guidelines.

On Tuesday, Gov. Hogan told Marylanders that all businesses could reopen this Friday, including movie theaters and entertainment venues, with restrictions in place.

When asked about moving into Phase Three of reopening along with the rest of Maryland, Montgomery County officials again praised the results of their slower approach to reopening. Recently, the county’s test positivity rate has remained lower than that of the state as a whole.

Montgomery County is home to over 1.1 million residents and currently has a positivity rate of 2.72 percent. The statewide rate currently sits at 3.36 percent.

“It didn’t happen by us doing what everybody else did. It happened by us setting a deliberate path to be as careful as possible. Our numbers got where they did by being careful. We’re going to continue to be careful because I don’t want these numbers going back up,” said County Executive Marc Elrich.

Elrich says he feels the state is making decisions based on the “desire to re-open businesses” and not in the interest of public health.

“I understand the desire to reopen businesses. I would love to have the tax revenue. But, I don’t want the tax revenue if the price to pay is more sick people and more fatalities in our community,” he said during a press briefing Wednesday.

As of right now, no official guidance from Montgomery County has been issued in regards to the Governor’s announcement. Local officials say they will be meeting throughout the week and hope to provide residents with clear guidelines by the weekend.

“Our intention is to provide full comments for our local residents based upon the governor’s guidelines and provide some distinction within which activities will be permitted in Montgomery County and those that won’t,” said Dr. Travis Gayles, the county’s Chief Health Officer.

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