The County Council yesterday approved Executive Order 122-20 from County Executive Marc Elrich that places restrictions on the number of people who can gather at various types of events, as well as be served indoors at restaurants and retailers.
“We have been watching the daily number of new cases go up for more than two weeks and it’s unfortunately time to roll back some of our reopening steps in order to decrease the spike we are seeing,” said Elrich in a press release. “Like you, I am experiencing ‘COVID fatigue’ and want things to go back to normal, but we have to stay at this in order to protect the health of our community.”
Councilmember Tom Hucker (D-District 5) characterized the vote on Twitter as difficult, also tweeting “we badly need a more targeted, fairer approach and a statewide/regional support.”
I voted for tighter restrictions to counter our surging COVID cases, but we badly need a more targeted, fairer approach and a statewide/regional support. @MontgomeryCoMD cannot deal w a national pandemic alone. Thread:https://t.co/uO6DVUQ0yP
— Tom Hucker (@tomhucker) November 10, 2020
The provisions of the order, which went into effect at 5 p.m. yesterday (Nov. 10), include:
- No more than 25 people are prohibited at parties, receptions, parades, festivals and fundraisers, and
- Large events that are planned must be cancelled or postponed.
Capacity is reduced to a maximum of 25 percent for:
- Fitness centers
- Food service establishments (indoors)
- Museums and art galleries
- Retail establishments; and
- Religious facilities.
In addition, “capacity is reduced to 25 percent or 25 people—whichever is lower—for bowling venues and for personal services establishments (including hair salons, barbershops, massage and nail salons).”
Further restrictions allow escape room businesses to reopen at a capacity limit of six people.
Also, restaurants now must maintain a record including date, time, name and contact information of all patrons to assist in contact tracing. The information must be held for at least 30 days.
Last week, the county suspended its late-night alcohol sales program and included clarification of an earlier executive order in response to complaints that establishments were selling large amounts of alcohol to customers just before 10 p.m., after which they could continue drinking much later than the deadline.