COVID-19 Updates: Getting Ready to Move to Phase 2 Reopening

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June 11, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

video of Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

We have been in Phase 1 of reopening our County for more than one week and many of the metrics are headed in the right direction.

Last week, I explained that we would move to each step of reopening based on the data and on the science. We are optimistic about the trends because even as some restrictions have been lifted—as restaurants are serving outdoors and people are getting haircuts—most people in our County are continuing to follow the guidelines of safety.

On Wednesday, June 10, announced which restrictions will be lifted when we move to Phase 2 reopening of Montgomery County. Phase 2 will include allowing limited indoor dining, shopping inside retail stores, indoor services at houses of worship and working out in fitness centers--all with certain restrictions. Our COVID-19 website has more details at

While Governor Hogan on June 10 expanded the list of allowable activities statewide, his Executive Order continues to provide highly impacted jurisdictions with the flexibility to set separate, more stringent standards. In doing so, he acknowledged that Prince George's and Montgomery counties have been hardest hit in the State and that our jurisdictions would make our own decisions about the pace of reopening.

While we do not know exactly when Phase 2 will begin, I am hopeful that it will be in about one week, but it will only be based on the data and in consultation with our public health officer. I have an obligation to be cautious and consider the public health risks for our residents.

As we reopen activities around our County, business leaders, County employees and residents are coming together to find creative ways to thrive during these challenging times.

The County has been working with the Bethesda Urban Partnership to close some Downtown Bethesda streets to vehicles for a "Streetery" so restaurants can add more outdoor tables. This began on June 10 and on Friday, June 12, the Silver Spring Streetdine pilot project will begin on a short stretch of Georgia Avenue. In the east part of our County and elsewhere, some restaurants have re-purposed parts of parking lots to create additional outdoor seating. We must be innovative to help our businesses and these are some of the ways we are doing it.

Last week I spoke to you about the demonstrations around the country that have been sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. On Sunday, I had a piece published in the Washington Post discussing both the national and local aspects of this tragedy and a path forward. I am in active conversations with Councilmembers, police employees, residents and others about what we need to do as a County to address some of the problems highlighted by these protests. We have an obligation to act and I intend to do so. While the actions of specific individuals draw our attention, these problems are rooted in institutional racism. We must have difficult conversations about the nature and role of policing, but I agree with those who have pointed out that we have relied on the police to address a myriad of social problems that should not be police issues.

Take care,

Marc Elrich, County Executive

Marc Elrich

Marc Elrich, County Executive


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Selected Roads in Downtown Bethesda Now Closed to Vehicles to Support Restaurants and Retail Businesses

bethesda streetery

Phase 1 of Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s plan to reopen the County as the COVID-19 health crisis eases began on June 10 as the County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) started closing several streets to vehicular traffic in Downtown Bethesda and allowing restaurants and businesses to use the streets for outdoor seating and curbside retail activity.

The “Bethesda Streetery” program was conceived by the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) and will be the first closure of this type as a part of MCDOT’s “Shared Streets” initiative.

The areas that will be part of the Bethesda Streetery will be open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily.


Press Release

Montgomery Parks to Reopen Athletic Fields in Local Parks for Youth Sports Practices Starting June 20

our parks and trails are open for exercise

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is reopening Montgomery Parks athletic fields in local parks for youth sports practice only starting Saturday, June 20. Specifically, the fields will be available for skill-building drills and conditioning.

The decision to reopen the parks on a limited basis was made by Parks leadership, in coordination with Montgomery County health officials, as part of Montgomery County’s Reopening Phase 1 plan. 

Montgomery Parks athletic fields will be available for athletic field permit-only practice beginning June 20 from noon to 8 p.m. on Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

League managers must obtain an athletic field permit through online registration via ActiveMontgomery or by emailing Registration will open at 8 a.m. on Saturday, June 13, and will be first come, first served.

Montgomery Parks allows access to its athletic fields without a field permit to groups of 10 or less. However, non-permitted users must relinquish the field to designated athletic field permit holders.


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First Neighborhood Greenway ‘Shared Streets’ to Support Increased Pedestrian and Bicyclist Activity Will be Launched on Monday, June 15

shared streets

Two local streets with long-term plans to become neighborhood greenways will be transformed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) into more friendly roadways for pedestrians and bicyclists. Starting on Monday, June 15, the first Neighborhood Greenway “Shared Streets” will go into effect in Aspen Hill and soon will be followed by a location in Silver Spring. The measures will support residents in the near term during the COVID-19 health crisis and may be expanded to other locations in the County.

A neighborhood greenway typically is a street where the priority is safe movement of bicycles and pedestrians and the fast movement of vehicles is discouraged. Temporary Shared Streets along planned neighborhood greenways will maintain access for emergency vehicles while marking select streets as “local access only” to create more space for pedestrians and bicyclists—and discourage vehicular traffic.

The streets involved in the pilot program will be Holdridge Road (1.2 miles) from Olympic Street to Urbana Drive in Aspen Hill and Grove Street (0.5 miles) from Bonifant Street to Sligo Avenue in Silver Spring.


Press Release

Montgomery County Accepting Applications for Its Business Microenterprise Stabilization Program Through Tuesday, June 16

Montgomery county Emblem

Montgomery County will continue accepting applications to its Microenterprise Stabilization Program (MSP) through 5 p.m. on 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

Unemployed Residents Still Encouraged to Apply for Benefits from Maryland

unemployment benefits

The Maryland Department of Labor recently reported paying more than 320,000 unemployment insurance claims during the health crisis. Many claims were filed under the CARES Act, which not only expanded coverage to employees who were normally not eligible for unemployment insurance (self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, insufficient work history), but also will provide coverage to people whose lives were disrupted in other ways as a direct result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Marylanders from all corners of the State continue to report challenges with accessing the State’s new Beacon One-Stop Unemployment Insurance System. The State says the issues still can lead to extended periods of time spent waiting online or on the phone to file an initial claim. 

Although the State says the delays in reaching “a live human being” can be frustrating, it is encouraging eligible Marylanders to be persistent in the claim filing process.

More information on the program is available at the State Division of Unemployment Insurance through its website at Information also is available via phone at 410-949-0022 or 800-827-4839.


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Yad Yehuda and Partners Distribute Kosher Meals to Thousands

yad yehuda and partners distribute kosher meals

When staff and volunteers at Yad Yehuda of Greater Washington, a food and financial security organization for the Jewish community, began seeing increasing numbers of clients in need of food assistance from its kosher food pantry in Silver Spring, they knew the need would grow as the COVID-19 health crisis continued. They also knew that it would take a team of partners to address the increased need.

Yad Yehuda Operations Director Stephanie Savir quickly set out to put together that team.

She reached out to Montgomery County Health and Human Services Senior Planning Manager Patrick Campbell after they connected through a Food Council meeting. Once the breadth of the need became apparent, they contacted Montgomery County Public Schools’ Food and Nutrition Services Director Marla Caplon. She helped ensure compliance with the rules of the USDA Summer Food Program and identified a site large enough for distribution. 

The suddenly formed trio with a common cause quickly arranged to partner with Bnos Yisroel, a school in Baltimore already providing kosher meals through the USDA Summer Food Program. They also worked with local kosher businesses to each day provide two nutritious, kosher meals to more than 1,300 children ages 18 and under.

The food distribution program is continuing via drive-through, contactless distribution at Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring. At the school, Stephanie and her crew of volunteers distribute breakfast and lunch to families in need, with assistance from local partners Ben Yehuda Cafe & Pizzeria and Shalom Kosher.

The current food program continues in Yad Yehuda’s mission since 2006 to provide food, clothing, rental assistance, and help with utility and medical bills for needy individuals and families  For more information on its kosher food assistance program, visit Yad Yehuda’s website at

If you or someone you know are in need of food assistance, visit the Montgomery County COVID-19 Food Resources webpage. The site has information in a variety of languages.


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International NGO Meduni Focuses on County Needs in COVID-19 Crisis

meduni donates

Meduni USMI is an international nonprofit organization based in North Bethesda whose mission is to provide healthcare assistance and support to individuals and communities in need, with a predominant focus on Armenia. When the COVID-19 health crisis hit home, Meduni USMI realized the work it was doing internationally might be useful in its own community.

“After the pandemic struck,” said Meduni Executive Director Vaughn Martirosyan, its board felt it “needed to give back to our State because we had a huge need.”

To help address concerns about capacity for COVID-19 patients at local hospitals, it has donated hospital beds, over-bed tables, ventilators incorporated into anesthesia machines, respirators and personal protective equipment (PPE), including bed covers, masks and gloves. So far, Meduni has donated more than $40,000 of materials.

According to Emergency Preparedness Specialist Netta Squires of the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Meduni offered to donate valuable durable medical equipment very early in the health crisis--before the County itself was set up to receive such donations. The County coordinated with Meduni to donate the initial batch of equipment directly to area hospitals, including Holy Cross.

“It might sound easy to donate a ventilator,” said Ms. Squires, “but it is not.”

Mr. Martirosyan drove to New Jersey to oversee the loading and shipping of the ventilators.

“This equipment is very expensive, and it has been essential to the County and the hospitals to help care for their patients," said Ms. Squires. "We thank them very, very much.”

Meduni has continued dropping off PPE to the County distribution site whenever it is able to acquire more.

For more information on how to donate equipment, or your time, visit the Volunteer Center’s website.


Volunteer Center

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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