Reopening Montgomery - The Numbers Tell the Story

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July 16, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

You can now register for a COVID-19 test online and make an appointment.

Visit to register and make an appointment. We encourage you to make an appointment to cut down on wait times, but walkups also are available at our testing sites

While we are pleased to be able to make testing more widely available generally, we are making a concerted effort to reach residents in high impact areas. We are focusing on zip codes in the County that have experienced higher rates of positive cases.

We have now tested more than 112,000 Montgomery County residents, which exceeds the State’s target of testing 10 percent of the population. The more people we test from around the County, the more we will learn about where COVID-19 is most prevalent—and where we must concentrate efforts to control and decrease its impact.

We know that certain zip codes have disproportionately high numbers of positive tests, and we know that the virus is hitting our Latino community particularly hard. In response, I am partnering with the County Council to launch a new Latino Response Team to address this challenge. The project will be implemented in partnership with a group of Latino-serving community-based organizations to help lead its design, development and implementation.

We have quarantine space for those who are positive and have no place to quarantine. In addition, we are connecting people with food, employment and rental assistance as needed.

The top 10 zip codes for positive cases are (in descending order) 20906, 20902, 20904, 20877, 20903, 20874, 20901, 20886, 20850 and 20910. Special emphasis is being placed on testing and outreach in these 10 zip codes areas.

We are working hard to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by basing our decisions on data and science, by making clear that we all need to follow guidelines and by not opening back up too fast. We are now expanding our testing efforts so that communities of color have greater access to testing, as well as other social services, so that we can direct resources to where they are needed and can help stop the spread.

We have made progress on testing, on contact tracing and on implementation of guidelines for individuals and businesses. Our residents are using personal protective measures and that is helping drive our numbers down. However, we have some serious work to do to make sure we are helping, and working with, all populations in the County.


Marc Elrich

Marc Elrich, County Executive


Watch Video

‘Reopen Montgomery’ Small Business Grant Program Unveils Website with Information on How Businesses Could Get Grants of Up to $5,000

Small Business Grant Program

The “Reopen Montgomery” Small Business Grant Program, which was created by the Montgomery County Council with the support of County Executive Marc Elrich, has launched a website that will allow small business owners to learn about the $14 million program. The site also has information on how to apply for grants, which could be as much as $5,000.

Businesses may be eligible for grants for reopening reimbursable expenditures they have incurred, and will incur, between March 16, 2020, and 30 days following the date when the County starts Phase 3 reopening. The County is still operating under Phase 2 reopening guidelines.

Details on the program and application information—in English and Spanish—can be found at


Visit WebSite

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

Free covid-19 testing

Montgomery County has three sites where residents can get tested for COVID-19. Testing at these sites requires an advance appointment, but doctor’s orders are not required and the tests are free. In addition, the County is constantly adding popup sites to make testing more accessible.

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 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 are:

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

 Upcoming popup test sites are schedule for:

  • Silver Spirng. East County Recreation Center, 3310 Gateshead Manor Dr. Tuesday, July 21, 2-6 p.m.
  • Olney. Oakdale Church, 3425 Emory Church Rd. Wednesday, July 22, 2-6 p.m.

Community Recovery Advisory Group Formed

community recovery advisory group

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has formed a Community Recovery Advisory Group to advise him and the County Council on community needs as they work toward making the County more equitable during recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 health crisis.

The Community Recovery Advisory Group will:

  • Convey the needs and challenges of Montgomery County communities.
  • Provide input on the recovery process for the County.
  • Provide communities with information about the recovery process.

The Community Recovery Advisory Group is one of three advisory groups being formed to help the County during the recovery. An important goal of the Recovery Advisory Group will be to ensure that the County takes a whole community approach to recovery.

The other advisory groups are the Economic Advisory Group and the Public Health Advisory Group.

For more information on the advisory group, or to submit questions prior to the forum, contact Tina Laboy at


More Information

County Recreation Pools to Offer Daily Admission Starting Monday, July 20

outdoor pool

Montgomery County residents will be able to use County pools using daily admission rates starting on Monday, July 20. Entrance to Montgomery County Recreation pools has been limited due to County Phase 2 reopening guidelines relating to the COVID-19 health crisis.

Daily admission rates for County residents will be $7 for adults, $6 for seniors 55 and over and $5 for children 17 and under. 

Residents also can pre-purchase a single-session pass online for $6. This will allow residents to reserve their desired two-hour pool session in advance. While walkups will be admitted, residents with reservations and pass holders will have priority. The number of available walkup daily admission slots will depend on the number of reservations and pool capacity.

Adults must provide proof of County residency at the time of entry. Residents who did not purchase session passes in advance, upon entering the pool area, must complete a contact form including the names of all household members, a phone number and their address. This information will only be used by County health officials if necessary.


Pool Information

Governor’s Moratorium on Utility Shutoffs and Late Fees May Expire on Aug. 1

montgomery energy connect logo

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan had extended the moratorium on utility shut offs and late fees due to the economic impact of the COVID-19  to Aug. 1, 2020. However, residents should be aware that the moratorium has not been extended and could expire at that time.

Governor Hogan’s emergency order regarding utilities (PDF) currently prohibits electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV or internet service provider companies from shutting off any residential customer’s service or charging any residential late fees.

With no extension currently in place, utility bills and late fees will be due on Aug. 1. Residents who are behind on payments could have their utilities shut off. In addition, they could be responsible for turn-off/turn-on fees and past due amounts before service is restored. 

Residents having difficulty paying electric, gas and/or water utilities, and those who have received a shut-off notice or have had service disconnected, are advised to contact their respective utility company immediately.


More Information

County Executive Elrich Announces Plan for More Than $66 Million in Reduced Spending; No MCPS Reductions at This Time

Montgomery county Emblem

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has transmitted to the County Council a revised operating budget spending plan that calls for more than $66 million in reduced spending, including $38.7 million in reductions from the Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget and $27.5 million in reductions from the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP).

The County Executive had asked all department and agency directors to submit suggested reductions to their budgets of at least six percent, but his budget reduction plan did not make across the board cuts. At this stage, the reductions do not include Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), which is still assessing potential cost reductions as it works toward finalizing plans for the coming school year.

“As we move forward, we must recognize there are still several unknown variables that will impact County government finances, including the lasting impact of COVID-19 on the County’s economy and our tax revenues, the need to maintain funds in reserve to address another potential wave of COVID-19 and whether there will be additional relief from the Federal government,” said County Executive Elrich.”

The reductions, when approved by the Council, would come from the $5.8 billion operating budget and the $4.4 billion six-year CIP that went into effect on July 1. The Council approved the budgets after reviewing the recommended operating budget the County Executive presented on March 16.


Press Release

County Executive Elrich, Council President Katz Announce Continued ‘Triple-A’ Bond Rating

Montgomery County retains AAA bond rating

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Sidney Katz have announced that the County has maintained its “Triple-A” bond rating for 2020 from the three major Wall Street bond rating agencies. The County continued its status as a top-rated issuer of municipal securities, with the highest credit rating possible for a local government. The rating is significant amidst the COVID-19 health crisis.

Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings all affirmed the Triple-A rating—the highest achievable—for the County. Montgomery County has earned Triple-A ratings from Moody's Investors Service, Inc. every year since April 1973 (48 consecutive years); from Standard & Poor’s every year since 1976 (45 consecutive years) and from Fitch every year since 1991 (30 consecutive years). 

Triple-A bond ratings enable Montgomery County to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds. The ratings also serve as a benchmark for numerous other financial transactions, ensuring the lowest possible costs in those areas as well.


Press Release

County Expands Dockless Electric Vehicle Options with Return of Capital Bikeshare E-Bikes and Expanded E-Scooter Pilot


Montgomery County has increased its travel options with the launch of new dockless e-bikes in the Capital Bikeshare network. In addition, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) expanded its pilot program for e-scooters to include the company Spin and announced plans to expand the service area for all e-scooters to include the City of Gaithersburg. 

Lyft, the operator of Capital Bikeshare, deployed a small fleet of e-bikes across the region last week. E-bikes will be deployed in each of the seven Washington area Capital Bikeshare member jurisdictions, including Montgomery County. Going forward, e-bike distribution will be determined based on demand and ridership patterns across the Bikeshare system. It is expected that the fleet of e-bikes available across the entire Capital Bikeshare region will expand to about 900 in August.

The e-bikes deployed are all entirely new and include enhanced features to address concerns from users during a previous pilot program in 2018.

In addition to e-bikes, e-scooter availability in the County also is expanding. The companies Bird, Lime and Lyft signed agreements with MCDOT to rent e-scooters in the County’s Dockless Vehicle Pilot Program that launched in June 2019. Last week, the program was expanded to include e-scooters from Spin.


More Information

County Officials Close Two Businesses: Issue Warnings to Two for Not Complying with COVID-19 Restrictions

report a violation

Montgomery County officials have stressed that following COVID-19 safety guidelines must continue under Phase 2 of reopening procedures. Both businesses and individuals need to act responsibly. In the case of businesses, reopening requires adhering to safety guidelines to protect customers and employees.

Montgomery County’s business ambassadors program has visited more than 2,000 businesses, offering assistance on how they can meet the requirements for Phase 2 reopening and keep their employees and customers safe. Overall, more than 95 percent have been in compliance and numerous others have adjusted situations to meet restrictions.

However, several businesses have not been following restrictions after repeated visits, and over the past week, two County businesses were closed for not complying with COVID-19 restrictions. In addition, one business received a written warning and a second business received a $500 citation for noncompliance.

Society Lounge, located at 8229 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, was closed and its license suspended on July 12 for not maintaining adequate social distancing. The business must submit a written plan, and have it approved by the County Department of Health and Human Services, before it can reopen. 

The Republic Garden, located at 8402 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring, also was closed and had its license suspended on July 12 for not maintaining adequate social distancing. A written plan must be submitted and approved before it can reopen. 

On July 11, County health and liquor inspectors issued a warning to Ay! Jalisco, located at 8401 Snouffer School Rd. in Gaithersburg. It was cited for employees not wearing masks. The Block, located at 967 Rose Ave. in the Pike & Rose section of Rockville, was cited for not maintaining the minimum six-foot physical distancing policy. It received a $500 class-A civil citation. 


Press Release

Avoid Starting Fires by Placing Proper Items for Trash Collection

Stop! don't turn your trash can into a fire hazard

The COVID-19 health crisis has led to many residents spending more time at home. Often, extra down time offers opportunities to address long-awaited cleanups. While encouraging those cleanups for safety and environmental reasons, Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is reminding residents that some items placed for trash collection could start fires.

Certain materials can easily start fires in refuse collection trucks, on rail cars on the way to processing facilities and disposal facilities and while being processed at the County’s Shady Grove Transfer Station in Derwood. 

DEP wants residents to know that the following materials should not be placed for trash collection:

These items should be disposed of through the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program or other special collection processes available.


Proper Disposal Regulations