MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County leaders approved new COVID-19 related restrictions in an executive order Tuesday afternoon, which go into effect at 5 p.m.
Leaders cited worsening metrics and increasing hospitalizations as reasons behind the stricter measures. The county currently has around 44 cases per 100,000 residents.
These are the new restrictions going into effect at 5 p.m., with language from the executive order:
- Restricts restaurant service to outdoor dining-carry-out, delivery, and drive-through service may continue. No indoor dining is permitted. Outdoor dining is prohibited between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
- Indoor sports gatherings limited to a maximum of 10 people in total.
- Maximum capacity for retail establishments reduced to one person per 200 square feet of retail space—not to exceed a maximum of 150 people.
- Large retail establishments wishing to accommodate more than 150 people after Wednesday, December 23 must request a Letter of Approval that includes a business’ plan for monitoring the number of people in the building at any given time and provide information on how social distancing will be ensured at the entrance, exit, and check-out lines.
- Religious institutions remain capped at 25 percent capacity indoors. A Letter of Approval is needed for outdoor services of more than 25 participants (previously a letter of approval was needed for outdoor services of more than 150 persons).
County leaders say if this new set of restrictions and the vaccine rollout don’t slow the spread in the next several weeks, the next step is a stay at home order.
“With any intervention in a pandemic or epidemic setting, you have some lead time of approximately two weeks. So, you’d want to have it in place for two weeks to see if there’s an impact in terms of turning things around. Not only do you want to see things around, you’d like to see them sustained,” said Dr. Travis Gayles, Montgomery County’s Chief Health Officer.
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