Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles today announced that effective 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24, indoor gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, and mandates that face coverings are required at all times outdoors and also indoors in public facilities.
The announcement comes a day after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced new COVID-19 restriction compliance, education, and enforcement operations in Silver Spring and other nightlife hotspots around the state.
The county joins other counties in the state, including Prince George’s and Howard County, that have reduced gatherings to 10 people or less. County officials are urging residents to stay home and limit social gatherings, including with family members, leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. The new requirement does not apply to businesses, establishments, and facilities that are permitted to operate as outlined in Executive Order 122-20, which permits up to 25 percent occupancy or 25 people, whichever is lower. Outdoor gatherings of more than 25 people continue to be prohibited.
“We are entering a phase of COVID-19 that is very worrisome, and we need every resident to understand what that means,” said Dr. Gayles in a county press release. “It is critical that each one of us takes this directive seriously and does our part to slow the spread. Contact tracing data indicates that family and group gatherings are where a significant number of the state’s cases are occurring. It is extremely important that each of us thinks about our collective responsibility to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. The case counts are continuing to rise at an alarming rate, and we need to take more drastic steps to reduce transmission.”
County Executive Marc Elrich this week called for a return to Phase 1 of COVID-19 restrictions: “Need to go back to Phase 1. We’re in danger of overwhelming hospitals, the projections for MD aren’t good — small steps won’t bend the curve in the right direction. We need the new Admin to get real assistance to businesses that bear this load. It’s not blue or red, it’s all of us.”
Graphic courtesy Montgomery County Government