Council to Hold Hearing, Vote on Proposal to Create Automatic Triggers for Reopening

The County Council is planning an introduction, public hearing and vote next week on a revised Board of Health regulation that would add automatic triggers for reopening the county based on the percentage of residents receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

The proposal would amend the current regulation to add three phases of reopening based on the percentages reported by the county’s health officer to the Board of Health. The most recent numbers show that 49% of the population has gotten at least one dose of a vaccine.

The reopening would require continued face covering usage and social distancing. The proposed phases would be, according to a press release:

  1. At 50 percentof the population receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine—
  • Gathering limits increase to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors
  • Businesses limited to 25 percent capacity move to 50 percent capacity if they do not sell or permit the consumption of food or drink
  • Camps can move to the gathering limits of 50 indoors and 100 outdoors
  • Escape rooms can allow 10 people per game
  • Museums and galleries may reopen touch exhibits
  • Malls may reopen pedestrian concourses and return tables and chairs inside, and
  • Sports allowed 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors with a similar number of spectators.
  1. At 60 percentof the population receiving at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine—
  • Gathering limits increase to 250 people indoors and no limit outdoors
  • Most businesses move to 75 percent capacity and may sell food and drink for consumption while seated
  • Camps can increase to gathering limits of 250 people indoors with no capacity limit outdoors and may permit campers from outside of Washington, D.C., Maryland or Virginia
  • Convention and banquet facilities limited to 50 percent of the facilities maximum capacity per state restrictions
  • Cigar and hookah bars may permit smoking outdoors
  • Food service establishments and religious facilities may move to 75 percent of maximum capacity, and
  • Sports may increase capacity for participants and spectators to 250 people indoors and no limit outdoors.

When 50 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, all conduct and business in the county would be required to follow any state or Maryland Department of Health requirements in place at the time.

The hearing will be held Tuesday, April 27 at 10:30 a.m. Those who wish to testify can sign up online. The council will also accept written, audio or video testimony online. The deadline to sign up is Monday, April 26 at 5 p.m.

Comments also can be submitted via email at [email protected] or by sending regular mail to County Council, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850. For information or to make a comment, call 240.777.7900.

The regulation will be posted on the council’s web page when it is ready.

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