COVID-19 Updates: Reopening Montgomery County While Keeping Us Safe

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June 5, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

I know that reopening our County in the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis is foremost on everyone’s mind. I want you to know that I am committed to working to protect the health of our residents as best as possible. That is how we made decisions for Phase I of our reopening, which began on Monday.

On Wednesday, Governor Larry Hogan announced Phase II of the reopening of Maryland. Each county has been allowed to enact reopening procedures in a manner that is best for its residents. We are proceeding based on the science and data and in consultation with our public health officer and other health experts. Our decisions and actions are similar to those of our neighboring jurisdictions.

For now, we are maintaining the stay-at-home order. We are evaluating Governor Hogan’s new Executive Order and are in the process of determining if any of his Phase II provisions will work with our Phase I policies and guidelines. Following guidelines from the CDC and other public health experts, each phase should have about 14 days of improvement before moving to the next phase. 

Please know that we are actively trying to drop the number of new cases, especially through increased testing and contact tracing. When new cases of COVID-19 show up, those people most likely did not know they were carriers. The quicker we can identify carriers who don’t show symptoms, the easier it is to slow the spread. We are aggressively pursuing multiple testing possibilities. As you can imagine, it is a complicated process involving tracking individual tests and results and payments for tests. We are planning these efforts with a first focus on areas around the County and in facilities that are hardest hit.

I have an obligation to all of you to be cautious in our decisions. Montgomery County still has the State’s second-highest number of COVID-19 cases. That is why we will continue to follow the data and science to ensure that our residents, visitors and businesses are safe and that we slow the spread of COVID-19 in our County and the region.

I also want to address a different crisis that has been in the forefront of the news across our nation. This is a deeply troubling time in our society. Our failure to deal with more than 400 years of racism has pushed racial tensions to a boiling point yet again. The murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minnesota has sparked outrage, protests and demonstrations around the nation.

We have had peaceful demonstrations in Montgomery County this week. I understand and empathize with the hurt, anger and fear expressed by community members. Here in Montgomery County we have grappled with the deaths of Robert White and Finan Berhe, and we know that these losses have devastated the families of these men and our community. We also know that there is more than one incident where officers persisted in wrong behavior while others stood by. 

We know that most police officers do not commit these acts. but they work within institutional systems that don’t sufficiently address the underlying problems. We know we need change to address the decades and centuries of institutional and structural racism that goes well beyond our police departments. You may be interested in this piece that I wrote for the Washington Post where I discuss some of the context for these most recent events

While we are not responsible for all the wrongs that have happened, we must find ways to help.  Our tools are limited at the County level, but we will use them. We will engage the community to address policing issues and other issues like housing, economic opportunity and health – including mental health.

The fact is that a divided society hurts all of us. It saps our humanity and a large part of our population has been prevented from developing to their full potential. And that has robbed all of us of sources of knowledge and skill from which all would benefit.

Together we must address institutional racism and work toward a more just community.


Marc Elrich

Marc Elrich, County Executive


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Ride On Bus to Expand to ‘Essential Plus’ Service on Sunday, June 7

ride on logo

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will expand Ride On bus service starting Sunday, June 7, to support County Executive Marc Elrich’s Phase I plan to reopen the County as the COVID-19 health crisis eases. In addition, the Bethesda Circulator and Silver Spring Van Go (Route 28) bus services will resume on Monday, June 8, to help economic recovery in the Bethesda and Silver Spring urban districts.

The routes being added back into service were selected to maximize the geographic coverage of Ride On using the resources currently available. Service was reduced during the health crisis as MCDOT implemented an “Essential Services” plan.

The “Essential Plus” plan starting June 7 will have Ride On operating 53 weekday routes, 49 Saturday routes, and 42 Sunday routes. The additional services significantly expand upon the 36 routes that operated seven days a week during the Essential Services plan.


Press Release

Montgomery County’s Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station Resumes Normal Operations with Modified Hours on Friday, June 5

shady grove transfer station

Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection resumed normal operations at the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station on Friday, June 5. However, customers using the facility must continue to practice social distancing and wear face coverings.

The resumption of normal operations means the transfer station will again accept yard waste and bulk waste from County residents and businesses. Only waste generated in the County can be brought to the facility.

Starting June 5, the hours of the facility will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday (at both entrances) and to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday (Route 355 entrance only).


Press Release

Montgomery County will Begin Accepting Applications for Its Business Microenterprise Stabilization Program on Wednesday, June 10

Montgomery county Emblem

Montgomery County will begin accepting applications for its Microenterprise Stabilization Program beginning Wednesday, June 10. Applications will be accepted through Tuesday, June 16. The MSP initiative is designed to help for-profit businesses with five or fewer employees in response to the COVID-19 health crisis.

In addition to for-profit businesses, the program is open to businesses with no employees including sole proprietors and independent contractors.

Information on the eligibility requirements and required documentation is available on the program web page at


Press Release

County Surveys Parents About Child Care Needs During COVID-19 Health Crisis


The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how Montgomery County families, especially those with children under age 13, will live for the foreseeable future. Questions remain about child care and what programs and services will look like in the coming months.

As the County begins working toward reopening and parents start going back to work, the Early Childhood Coordinating Council (ECCC) wants to hear from parents about their child care situations. Parents of children, especially those under age 13, are asked to complete a new survey to help learn more about child care arrangements — what they were before COVID-19 and what arrangements parents are looking for now.

The survey should take fewer than five minutes to complete and will help the County shape community-centered programs and inform recommendations made to policymakers, educators, and the business community. All responses are anonymous, and the deadline to complete the survey is midnight on Tuesday, June 16.

The ECCC is comprised of child care providers, representatives of County agencies, nonprofit partners, medical personnel, and parent representatives and they will use the responses from families to inform policy recommendations made to policymakers, educators and the business community, and to shape community-centered programs. 

For more information, contact Taryn Billand at


Take Survey

25th Annual Taste of Wheaton Festival Will Have Virtual Feel with Weeklong Celebration June 7-13 — And Will Feature New Nighthawks’ Music

Virtual Taste of Wheaton

The 25th annual Taste of Wheaton festival will have a virtual feel in some respects due to the COVID-19 health emergency, but the June 7-13 event will still highlight some of the area’s top local restaurants, providing giveaways and an opportunity to explore the Wheaton Downtown area. Another special aspect of this year’s festival: The Nighthawks, one of the area’s most popular local bands, will perform newly recorded songs online for the event.

With a need to maintain safety guidelines due to COVID-19, this year’s event, which is being organized by the Wheaton Urban District, will provide festival goers with a chance to eat their way around Wheaton while staying at an appropriate distance from others.

Some of the restaurants will offer sample “taste’ menus along with their regular menu and several will have outdoor eating areas. Many will be offering the best of their menus for takeout, delivery and curbside pickup. The list of participating restaurants and dining options can be found at website

The fun actually kicks off one day before the official start of the festival. From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 6, free Wheaton branded giveaway items (including face masks, insulated lunch bags, cutlery sets and hand sanitizers) will be given away—while supplies last—at the Wheaton Urban District office at 11435 Grandview Ave.



Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers: Making a Difference Every Day

Medical reserve corp volunteers

The Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) Network is a community-based, civilian, volunteer program that helps enhance the public health infrastructure and response capabilities during emergencies. Its members are college students, working professionals retired health care providers, and even former Montgomery County staff.

There are more than 2,727 volunteers registered with the MRC, with 750 who are eligible to respond. The corps includes 320 currently licensed medical professionals.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 health crisis, MRC volunteers have assisted in the County’s drive-through testing sites, at the Health Department Operations Center, in warehouse operations, with the Food Security Task Force, donation collections, FIT testing of personal protective equipment, disease specimen collection and telemedicine screenings.

The County is grateful for the work of these dedicated community volunteers whose efforts are making the community a safer place for all.

For more information on how to get involved with the Medical Reserve Corp, visit its website.


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Project HOPE Delivers Generous PPE Donation to County

hope project

Project HOPE is an internationally recognized global health and humanitarian relief organization whose efforts are generally focused on public health challenges abroad. From providing staff, volunteers and medical supplies during natural disasters to training healthcare workers in Sierra Leone and providing maternal/child health care services for women and babies in more than 28 countries, Project HOPE has worked for more than 60 years to transform the lives and health of communities around the world.

When the COVID-19 health crisis hit close to home, Project HOPE dove right in, using its relationships with donors to distribute personal protective equipment to locations in the U.S. from Chicago to the Navaho Nation to Montgomery County.

In early May, Project HOPE delivered nearly 20,000 respirator masks (3,150 N95 and 16,800 KN95) and 18,000 surgical masks to the County. Those items were donated to Project HOPE by Eli Lilly.

Those donations moved quickly from County warehouses to local nursing homes, retirement communities, group homes the developmentally disabled individuals and other places in need. The life-saving PPE supplies have helped frontline workers slow the spread of COVID-19 to our most vulnerable residents.

For more information about the work of Project HOPE and how to help, visit


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Census 2020


Put the “count” in Montgomery County! Be sure to complete the Census online, by phone, or by mail. It’s safe, confidential, easy, and important. #2020Census #EveryoneCountsMCMD


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