County Executive Marc Elrich will issue an order today extending the county’s stay-at-home restrictions indefinitely, while Gov. Larry Hogan eases statewide constraints.

The governor announced earlier this week that the state would begin stage one of a recovery that changes the order from “stay at home” to “safer at home.” The order will be effective at 5 p.m. today, Friday, May 15.

At the same time, the governor allowed local jurisdictions the flexibility to make decisions regarding the timing of reopening retail stores, manufacturing facilities, houses of worship, and personal services.

“Life in Montgomery County is going to continue as it was, because the circumstances in Montgomery County, as well as some of the other jurisdictions around us, have not changed enough in order to make opening safe,” said Elrich in a press conference yesterday afternoon.

He noted that Montgomery and neighboring Prince George’s County together have about 50 percent of the total number of COVID-19 cases in the state.

Prince George’s County Executive Angel Alsobrooks also declared that she would continue the stay-at-home order in her jurisdiction, Elrich added.

“We believe the local health conditions don’t warrant this change in policy. We do not yet have the metrics that were set out by the CDC and by the governor at the beginning of this,” Elrich said. “Those metrics have not yet been achieved.”

Elrich’s office also issued an announcement that lists five metrics that need to be met before reopening and a relaxation of restrictions can occur, including:

  • A sustained decrease during a 14-day period of new cases in an environment of increased testing
  • A sustained decrease in the COVID-19 related hospitalization rate  
  • A sustained decrease in the percentage of COVID-19 related ICU beds in use
  • A sustained decrease in the number of COVID-19 related daily deaths, and
  • A sustained decrease in the number of COVID-19 related patients going to county emergency rooms.

The County Council announced its intention to review Elrich’s order and a resolution to adopt it during a virtual meeting at 1:15 p.m. today. The order would go into effect at the same time as the governor’s revised order.

In the meantime, Montgomery Parks said it would cancel its 2020 summer camps due to the COVID-19 emergency.

In addition, all Parks programs, classes and events through June 30 have been cancelled, and most park facilities will remain closed.

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

Mike Diegel