Update: The state Department of Health now confirms 15 cases in Montgomery County.

Most county facilities are now closed to the public, and other changes are either in effect or expected in an effort to combat COVID-19.

As of Sunday afternoon, there were 12 confirmed cases of the disease, according to information from the state, county officials announced yesterday.

“County government is open with employees teleworking where possible.  As a result, there may be some modification of services. In-person services offered, such as SNAP applications, will continue, although we encourage residents to access online services, including applications, as much as possible,” said County Executive Marc Elrich in the press release.

Current closures and cancellations include:

Montgomery Parks indoor facilities and offices are closed as of today (March 16). All programming, classes and events in parks and at park facilities through March 31 are cancelled. Outdoor facilities are open, however.

The department will issue credits for people currently registered for winter classes, programs, rentals, and events, or have permitted park facilities through March 31.

While public access to many county buildings, including the County Council offices in Rockville, is not permitted during the closure, the council will continue to operate, according to Council President Sidney Katz (D-District 3).

Interested parties can watch council meetings on County Cable Montgomery. The channel can be viewed on Cable Channels 996 (high definition) and 6 (standard definition) on Comcast, Channels 1056 (HD) and 6 (SD) on RCN, and Channel 30 on Verizon.

The meetings are also available streaming live on the council web site and directly on the council’s Facebook page (@MontgomeryCountyMDCouncil) and on YouTube (@MoCoCouncilMD).

In addition, testimony can be submitted electronically to [email protected], or via mail at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, Md., 20850. Residents can also call the council at 240-777-7900.

The Montgomery Planning Department will be closed beginning March 16. Employees will be teleworking and electronic services are available, according to a press release.

Montgomery County Public Schools will be closed from March 16-27. However, indoor community use of MCPS facilities is closed March 14–31, though all SAT testing for middle and high schools will continue as scheduled. Outdoor use is cancelled March 16–27.

The decision whether to open or close childcare operations in MCPS facilities has been left up to each individual operator.

As of March 16, all Ride On buses are free to use. Passengers will be directed to board at the rear of the bus to minimize contact with drivers, though those who need the lift to board will be permitted to do so.

Many private businesses are modifying their hours and/or operations. For example, a number of restaurants are stepping up their take-out and delivery services in an effort to continue to serve the public and keep employees working.

However, many scheduled events are being postponed or cancelled, sometimes with short notice. Those interested in attending an event should check with the host to confirm whether it will still take place.

Finally, the county’s Alcohol Beverage Services stores are open as usual—so far.

Image from Wikimedia Commons licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

Mike Diegel