Montgomery County Council votes on health regulations, increasing capacity limits


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ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) – The Montgomery County Council voted in favor of approving health regulations on gatherings and facilities, following Governor Hogan’s recent announcement to lift various restrictions.

The loosened restrictions including increasing outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 50 people and increase indoor gatherings to a maximum of 25 people.

The meeting did not go without criticisms of Hogan’s recent decision, both for the extensive lifting of restrictions and how they were announced.

“What governor Hogan did this week was irresponsible,” Councilmember Will Jawando said. “it was reckless, [it] endangered people’s lives, and I daresay, it was politically motivated.”

Restrictions for restaurants, fitness centers and other facilities will increase from 25% to 50% on March 26th.

Council President Tom Hucker said the county would follow their health officials’ guidelines, and their conservative steps to reopening have kept their covid metrics low.

“It’s our job to do what’s best for Montgomery County residents,” he said. “And that means taking more protective measures.”

The council says they will continue to monitor the situation as they will re-evaluate their restrictions in the coming weeks.

The regulations include the following:

  1. Remove all local restrictions on childcare facilities and therefore require them to follow State requirements;
  2. Changes maximum capacity to align with fire or other occupancy permit;
  3. Increase outdoor gatherings to a maximum of 50 persons;
  4. Increase indoor gatherings to a maximum of 25 persons;
  5. Remove the 1 person per 200 square feet of space limits;
  6. Remove the alcohol limits on food service facilities;
  7. Remove the restriction on buffet service for food service facilities;
  8. Remove outdoor structure requirements for food service facilities;
  9. Permit food courts in malls to operate in the same manner as other food service facilities;
  10. Increase capacity for religious facilities to 50%;
  11. permit arts and entertainment facilities to open at 25% capacity on March 26, 2021, provided they do not sell or permit food for consumption in the facility;
  12. On March 26, 2021, the capacity limits for indoor dining at food service facilities, fitness centers, bowling alleys, escape rooms, museums and art galleries, personal services facilities, pools, retail establishments, and recreation centers increases from 25% to 50%.

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