Reopening Montgomery - The Hidden Problems Behind the Silent Disease

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July 23, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

It is difficult to watch the number of COVID-19 cases rise around the country and even elsewhere in Maryland. More than 40 states this week saw an increase in reported cases. Here in Montgomery County, our cases are not increasing on a daily percentage basis as they are in other places, but they also are not declining. So I urge you to continue to follow the guidelines that are making a difference: wear a face covering (and make sure it covers your nose and mouth), maintain physical distance and wash your hands frequently.

face covering

While we continue to address this pandemic, we are also thinking about recovery. Last week, we had the first meeting of our Community Recovery Advisory Group. The group is part of the County’s whole community approach to recovery—to convey the needs and challenges of the communities they represent, to provide input on the recovery process for Montgomery County and to provide information to the community about the recovery process. Based on our first meeting, I am very encouraged by the group’s engagement and commitment to ensuring that Montgomery County recovers together.

While we fight the more evident effects of COVID-19, we must also address the economic impact the health crisis has inflicted: too many residents cannot pay their bills and as the Governor’s eviction moratorium ends this week, many may soon be facing eviction. There are people who have spent their entire working lives to start a small business and now they find the possibility that a lifetime of dreams can be wiped out in a few months.

These are times when a local government must do what it can to help. Our most recent act came Tuesday when I requested that the County Council appropriate $20 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to expand rental assistance for those facing eviction and to help prevent homelessness. The Council is expected to approve the assistance next week.

We have also provided grant programs for low-income residents and small businesses.

No single program is the total answer to a problem that, for now, refuses to be solved. But we are helping as we can—and we will continue to be innovative and work with our partners to address this pandemic and its many consequences.


Marc Elrich

Marc Elrich, County Executive

P.S. On a brighter note, please check out the video linked below about some of our residents and what they are doing to help in these difficult times.


Watch Video

40 Sites Now Available in County for COVID-19 Testing, Including Three Free County Sites; Two Popup Sites Added

Free covid-19 testing

There are now 40 sites in Montgomery County where residents can get tested for COVID-19, including three County-operated sites and special popup clinics. Appointments are recommended for the three County-operated sites to reduce wait times, but walkups are available. At the County-operated sites, no doctor’s order is needed and no symptoms need to be evident to get a test. Those tests are free.

There may be fees at some of the 37 sites not operated by the County and some require special arrangements in advance.

The most recently added County popup sites will be in Silver Spring and Rockville. One popup site will operate from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 30, at the Silver Spring Civic Center at 1 Veterans Pl. in Downtown Silver Spring. Another will be held from 2 - 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Rockville United Church at 355 Linthicum St. in Rockville.

The County-operated test sites are in Germantown, Wheaton and White Oak. However, times and locations sometimes change on days excessive heat, residents should check the testing website for potential changes on those days. Popup testing clinics are located in different parts of the County. Appointments can be made online at or 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. Those considering tests should reconfirm the details.

The County-operated test sites use saliva tests so they are easier and faster. Results are often returned in approximately 72 hours. 

The test site operation hours will be the following starting Monday July 27, unless excessive heat necessitates changes:

  • Germantown. Parking garage behind the Regal Theaters at 20002 Century Blvd. Mondays from 8 a.m. - noon.
  • Wheaton. Montgomery County Parking Garage No. 45 at 11304 Amhurst Ave. Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. - noon.
  • White Oak. Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) site at 2121 Industrial Parkway. Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 a.m.-noon.

County Executive Elrich Requests $20M to Provide Additional Renter Relief

information for renters

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has recommended that the County Council appropriate $20 million from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to expand rental assistance for those facing eviction and to help prevent homelessness.

The funds would expand the County’s eviction and homelessness prevention programs, including the COVID Rent Relief program administered by the County’s Department of Health and Human Services. This effort was originally spearheaded by Councilmember Evan Glass.

“With the Courts lifting the stay on evictions after July 25 and the schedule to hear nonpayment of rent cases after Aug. 31, I believe it is imperative that we support tenants using all our resources,” said County Executive Elrich. “I recognize that $20 million is not the full amount we will need, but it represents a significant initial allotment to meet immediate challenges.”

Council President Sidney Katz said: “This financial assistance is imperative to ensure that renters in our community can continue to stay in their homes. We must help to protect renters from eviction, and I know that these funds will do just that.”

The legislation was introduced before the Council on July 21. A vote is scheduled for Tuesday, July 28.


Press Release

County Pools Procedures Evolving in Phase 2 Reopening

Pools Now Open

Montgomery County residents are now able to use County pools on daily admission rates. 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 is $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.

Reservations are not required, but are recommended. Walkups will be admitted, but 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. A reservation will ensure admission into the pool.

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.

Beginning Saturday, July 25, indoor pools will transition to one-hour lap swimming sessions. Reservations can be made starting on July 24.


Pool Operations

Registration is Open for Recreation Outdoor Summer Programs

Active Banner

Montgomery County Recreation is offering outdoor programs and classes to promote active and healthy lifestyles this summer. Registration is now open for the outdoor programs, which begin Saturday, Aug. 1.

Programs and activities are tailored to a variety of interests, skill levels and ages. Outdoor summer programs include sports, dance, exercise and wellness.

Questions can be emailed to

County Recreation Cancels Modified Summer

Recreation Logo (new)

Montgomery County Recreation will not be providing late-summer modified camps.

Due to the critical need of health care providers in the community for other vital services, the department was unable to secure dedicated nursing providers required to offer summer camps to the public.

“Montgomery County Recreation has worked tirelessly to prepare, plan and deliver a modified summer camp program,” said Recreation Director Robin Riley. “We regret that we were unable to meet the requirements to open our programs. However, as MoCo Rec staff does so well, we are quickly transitioning, and we are looking into providing alternative programs and activities to the Montgomery County community in the near future.”

Montgomery County Recreation continues to offer virtual summer programs and activities through Rec Room.


More Information

July is Plastic-Free Month

what single-use plastic item have you given up?

The COVID-19 health crisis likely will continue for a considerable length of time. However, far beyond that, the world will be battling the environmental damage done by the disposal of plastic products.

Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection is encouraging residents to recognize "Plastic-Free July" month and consider ways to reduce plastic waste, especially single-use plastics.

The global initiative has grown significantly over the years. Among its targets are stopping the waste of plastic single-use drink bottles, cups, packaging items, straws and plastic bags. The campaign encourages users to replace them with reusable objects.

Here are some of the ways to go plastic-free in July—and after:

  • Take reusable water bottles to stay hydrated when leaving home.
  • Bring reusable bags to the market.
  • Reuse plastic bags to pick up pet waste or take plastic bags to recycling drop-off points.
  • When ordering delivery or take-out, refuse single-use flatware and reuse containers.


More Information

Local Farm and Volunteers Provide Fresh Produce to Frontline Workers and Those in Need

licking creek bend farm

When it became clear in the spring that the economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis was leading to hunger and food insecurity, Esther Siegel and Mike Tabor, who live in Takoma Park and operate Licking Creek Bend Farm in Needmore, Pa., began thinking about how they could help.

Mike has been growing chemical-free produce for 47 years on his farm, which covers about 60 acres tucked away in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Esther came on board after they married 40 years ago. Together, with their longtime farm manager, Charmaine Peters, and staff, they deliver fresh produce to farmers markets in suburban Maryland. They also provide shares of produce for area residents who participate in their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs provide participants with a weekly box of seasonal, local produce.

“Growing produce is what we do,” said Mike.

Providing fresh, nutritious food to frontline and essential workers and those in greater need because of job loss was how they could help.

Mike and Esther hoped to provide 25 to 30 families with food through CSA subsidy shares at a deeply reduced price—if they could raise the funds to do so.

Once they put the word out, help poured in. Regular CSA participants and neighbors pitched in funds. Local congregations like Minyan Oneg Shabbat and Seekers Church got involved, sponsoring several families. Am Kolel offered to serve as a tax-exempt partner to help accept online donations. Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) enrolled 10 families identified by its outreach staff in nearby buildings. Many have lost their jobs or have reduced hours, particularly those working in the restaurant industry.

“Getting fresh fruits and vegetables like this is wonderful. They love it,” said Eva Dillon, director of advancement at MHP.

When transportation proved a challenge, Eva volunteered to pick the food up herself and deliver it to MHP’s participating families.

“Donations have made it possible for us to provide, so far, 23 of the 30 families we hope to reach,” said Esther. “It was all of our donors who made this effort a reality.”

CSA subsidy participants include nurses, nonprofit staff, an occupational therapist, a police officer and a family of nine struggling to support itself after job loss, among others.

Those interested in helping more families in the next session of the CSA can contact Esther Siegel at Find out more about how to get food assistance or how to help fight hunger in the County, visit the Volunteer Center.


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