Reopening Montgomery - Stepping in Carefully

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July 2, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

video from County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

The New York Times runs a daily report of coronavirus in the U.S., and as of this writing, only three states and the District of Columbia have a declining number of cases. Maryland is one of the three states.

Here in Montgomery County, and with Prince George’s County, we have almost half the cases in Maryland. We have worked together, along with the District of Columbia and other neighboring jurisdictions, to make sure that we did not reopen too soon and that reopening includes the necessary precautions. Our caution has prevented the huge spikes in cases that we see elsewhere.

Now, as we view what is happening in the rest of the country, we see many states have reopened too quickly and without strict guidelines. They are seeing dramatic spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases and they are having to reverse reopenings and to close businesses again.

I know, at times, it is frustrating to some, but we are not going to make the mistakes that others have made. We will continue to be guided by data because this is the only way to keep our residents safe.

It is still vital that all of us follow the guidelines that are in place: Wear face coverings in public spaces and businesses, keep physically distancing and wash hands often.

It is likely that these practices will be with us for quite some time, but we need them if we are to stay safe. The fact that we have made the progress we have is testimony to the wisdom of County residents and their willingness to act in ways that protect our families, our neighbors and our larger community. We will not let up until the job is done.

In addition to businesses and restaurants reopening with limitations, this week Montgomery Parks started reopening playgrounds and sports facilities. Our libraries are providing limited service and our County pools will reopen begin reopening July 6 - more information below

Unfortunately, the County’s traditional July 4 celebrations had to be canceled.

This week we began our program to provide financial assistance to child care providers to help with reopening costs. We also held our first popup testing event and more are scheduled. Please also see below about the availability of free testing.

Earlier this week, I spoke before the Maryland General Assembly’s Environment and Transportation Committee about the many people who may be facing evictions after the Governor’s moratorium on evictions ends. We have implemented some programs here, but the need is great. Frankly, it is more than the County alone can handle and we need to work with the State and the Federal governments to find solutions so that people can stay in their homes.

Even if this Fourth of July is different, I hope everyone enjoys the long weekend. You can join our virtual celebration. If you are headed to the beach, keep our guidelines in mind. Do all you can to protect yourselves and your families. Try to avoid crowded and enclosed spaces. Stay a safe distance from people without face coverings.

Finally, remember, fireworks are dangerous and illegal in our County.

All that said, I hope everyone has a good holiday—and please do what is necessary to stay safe.

Marc Elrich

Marc Elrich, County Executive


Watch Video

COVID-19 Free Testing Available at Three Sites with No Doctor’s Order Required

do you need a covid-19 test?

Montgomery County has three sites where residents can get tested for COVID-19. Testing requires an advance appointment, but doctor’s orders are not required and the tests are free.

The test sites are in Germantown, Wheaton and White Oak. Appointments can be made by calling the Testing Helpline at 240-777-1755. The line is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The testing helpline will be closed on Friday, July 3, and Saturday, July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday.

The test sites will use oral swab tests so the tests are easier and quicker. Results will be issued in approximately 72 hours. 

The test site operation hours will be as follows:

  • Germantown. Parking garage behind the Regal Theaters at 20010 Century Blvd. Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wheaton. Montgomery County Parking Garage No. 45 at 11304 Amhurst Ave. Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • White Oak. Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) site at 2121 Industrial Parkway. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.


COVID19 Test Sites

County Pools to Reopen on Monday, July 6

pools reopening on July 6

Montgomery County Recreation will open its seven outdoor pools and three indoor aquatic centers on Monday, July 6, as part of the County’s Phase 2 reopening. Pools will be open to pass holders only.

Outdoor pools will open for two-hour sessions of recreational swimming between noon and 8 p.m. seven days a week.

Indoor aquatic centers will open for lap swimming only. The centers will open for two-hour sessions between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday and Sundays.

All swim sessions will require a reservation.


More Information

Libraries ‘Holds to Go’ Starts Monday, July 6

Hold to Go from Library

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL), whose buildings have been closed since March due to the COVID-19 health crisis, will start its contactless pickup service “MCPL Holds to Go” on Monday, July 6. Library customers will be able to place holds on items online or by calling a branch. When the items are ready to be picked up, the customer will get an email with instructions for making an appointment to pick up their holds.

When the customer arrives at the branch for their appointment, the library materials will already be checked out and waiting on a table for pickup.

Holds to Go is the latest service being offered by MCPL as Montgomery County continues to recover from the health crisis.

Virtual programming continues, with a broad selection of programs available for children, teens and adults. Library book drops are now accepting returns. Materials are being held for a minimum of 72 hours before they are checked in, so customers will see returned materials on their accounts for several days.

Branches also are providing telephone service during select hours. Hours and phone numbers can be found on the MCPL website. No services will be provided on July 3 and 4 for the Independence Day holiday.


Library Updates

Montgomery Parks Begins Reopening Playgrounds and Other Facilities

Montgomery Parks Begins Reopening Playgrounds and Other Facilities

Montgomery Parks of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has started a gradual reopening of playgrounds it oversees. Other facilities, such as the miniature trains at Cabin John and Wheaton regional parks, have opened on a limited schedule, with plans to reopen on expanded schedules soon.

It may take up to two weeks to reopen the 276 Montgomery Parks playgrounds. Park visitors are encouraged to bring their own wipes and hand sanitizer.

The parks are operating under Montgomery County Phase 2 guidelines authorized by County Executive Marc Elrich. Users of the parks should wear face coverings and maintain social distancing of at least six feet from others. 

Among other facilities with reopening plans are the miniature golf at South Germantown Park (now open with limited hours), the indoor tennis centers at Cabin John and Wheaton regional parks (opening on July 6 with limited hours) and the Wheaton Sports Pavilion (opening on July 6 for futsal, soccer and lacrosse).


Visit Website

Registration is Open for Montgomery County Recreation Virtual Summer Programs for All Ages

Rec room

Montgomery County Recreation has opened registration for an exciting schedule of summer virtual programs and classes to promote active and healthy lifestyles as the County gradually reopens from the COVID-19 health crisis. Virtual programs will begin the week of July 6.

Programs and activities are tailored to a variety of interests, skill levels and ages. Summer programs include arts, sports, dance, exercise and wellness and much more. In addition, week-long virtual summer experiences are available for children ages six to 12.


Visit RecRoom

County Cancels Fourth of July Celebrations, But ‘United Montgomery’ Will Air on County Cable; Annual Agricultural Fair, Farm Tour Also Canceled

Montgomery United

The ongoing COVID-19 public health crisis has led to Montgomery County canceling both of the County-sponsored Fourth of July celebrations for this year’s holiday. The traditional shows are “Germantown Glory” and “Mid-County Sparkles,” which has been based at Einstein High School in Kensington.

The County will celebrate in a different way. At 8 p.m. on Friday, July 3, the special County salute “United Montgomery, Stronger Together” will air on the County station County Cable Montgomery (CCM). The 60-minute special will feature local entertainment and will include messages from top County officials including County Executive Marc Elrich and Council President Sidney Katz. It will have patriotic music and fireworks displays from previous years.

The health crisis also has led to the cancellation of two of the County’s most popular annual events: the Agricultural Fair held in Gaithersburg and traditionally staged in August and the Farm Tour and Harvest Tour highlighting the County’s Agricultural Reserve, which is traditionally held in late July.

Montgomery County Fire Chief Scott Goldstein and public safety officials across the region  launched a comprehensive effort several years ago to inform and educate the public about illegal fireworks. All fireworks, including sparklers, are illegal in Montgomery County.


Press Release

New Major Projects on I-495 and US Route 29 Will Have Significant Impact on County Traffic; I-270 South Project to Continue Throughout Summer

New Major Projects on I-495 and US Route 29 Will Have Significant Impact on County Traffic; I-270 South Project to Continue Throughout Summer

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) will be working on two new major road projects that will have significant impact for extended periods on Montgomery County drivers. Emergency repairs to the inner loop of I-495 (Capital Beltway) Northwest Branch Bridge between MD 650 (New Hampshire Avenue) and MD 193 (University Boulevard) are expected to last through mid-July. A planned $5.7 million safety and resurfacing project covering about four miles on US 29 (Colesville Road/Columbia Pike) in Silver Spring is expected to last two years.

The early stages of the projects will coincide with the phased reopening of Montgomery County as the COVID-19 health crisis eases and more drivers return to the roads. Roadwork has already started on a summer-long MDOT SHA project to resurface southbound I-270 from Rockville to Bethesda, causing major delays each day. Drivers are advised to plan ahead, consider alternate routes or expect extra commute times if they travel on or around the routes under repair. Drivers also are asked to take extra caution to help keep workers safe.

The major repairs on the I-495 Northwest Branch Bridge will begin after the July 4 holiday. Crews will perform permanent joint repairs to the bridge. Completing the work will require daytime and nighttime intermittent single- and multiple-lane closures between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays and between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. overnight. MDOT SHA expects repairs to be completed by mid-July.

Work has begun on a nearly four-mile section of US 29, between St. Andrews Way (near Sligo Creek Parkway) and Stewart Lane. There will be significant lane closures each day. MDOT SHA expects the project to be completed by the end of 2021.


Press Release

Ride On Bus Expands to ‘Essential Plus’ Service Starting Sunday, July 5

ride on essential plus service

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will expand Ride On bus service starting Sunday, July 5, to support County Executive Marc Elrich’s Phase 2 reopening plan as the COVID-19 health crisis eases. Changes beginning this weekend include activating additional buses to provide more trips on about half of the routes in service. Changes are being made in response to increased demand, current traffic conditions and to reincorporate some “diversion” stops that had been temporarily removed from service.

The expanded “Essential Plus” plan starting July 5 will maintain the same 53 weekday routes, 49 Saturday routes and 42 Sunday routes that have been in service since June 7.

During the Essential Plus plan, all Ride On services will remain free to all passengers—a temporary change made during the health crisis. Flex bus on-demand transit, a pilot program implemented in 2019 in the Rockville and Glenmont-Wheaton areas, remains suspended.

Service hours and bus frequency will be changed on weekdays and weekends, and riders are encouraged to visit the Essential Plus webpage for detailed information at


Essential Plan

Application Acceptance for the Early Care and Education Initiative Recovery Fund Open; $10 Million in County Funding Available

Application Acceptance for the Early Care and Education Initiative Recovery Fund

Child care providers in Montgomery County were able to start applying on June 29 for funding to help offset financial losses caused by COVID-19 and assist with reopening expenses. The Early Care and Education Initiative Recovery Fund will provide financial assistance to eligible licensed child care center programs, registered family child care homes and letter of compliance programs.

Applications will be accepted until close of business on Friday, July 17.

Of the $10 million in funding provided by the County Council appropriation, $6.5 million will be allocated to support licensed child care centers and letter of compliance programs and $3.5 million to support registered family child care homes. The maximum grant amounts are $75,000 per childcare site for one site; $150,000 for two sites; $200,00 for three sites and $250,000 for four or more sites.

The child care sites that are to be supported by the grant must be in Montgomery County, and 60 percent of the children served at each site must be Montgomery County residents. Actual grant amounts will be based on capacity.


Press Release

Revenue Authority Staff Repackage Large Food Acquisitions in Smaller Quantities for Pantries

Revenue Authority Staff Repackage Large Food Acquisitions in Smaller Quantities for Local Pantries

Early on in the COVID-19 health crisis, Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Food Security Task Force identified a shortage of food staples—particularly rice, beans and lentils. They were available to the County and its partners, but only in very large commercial and industrial quantities. Food pantries and other nonprofit food providers were all struggling to source these stables, and months into the crisis, the problem remained: the County could acquire them, but only in quantities sized for restaurants and caterers. 

Task Force member and co-logistics manager Josh Carin is the director of hospitality at the Montgomery County Revenue Authority (MCRA), the independent agency that operates facilities such as nine public golf courses and the Montgomery Airpark.

Josh has helped the task force source supplies throughout the crisis and knew how hard it is to locate essentials in consumer-sized portions. He had an idea for how to put available resources to work.

Beginning last week, members of MCRA staff started repackaging supplies delivered by wholesalers to Rattlewood Golf Course, which is located north of Damascus. By repacking the supplies into smaller quantities, food pantries, local nonprofits and faith-based facilities are able to come to the golf course and pick up the staples for distribution to residents in need. 

The task force is hoping to expand the program to other sites interested in helping, including several faith-based facilities with on-site kitchens.

Food assistance providers are experiencing a surge in requests for services and they are working collectively to address needs.


Food Distribution