Reopening Montgomery: A Thank You to Labor

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September 3, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends:

As you may have heard, earlier this week, Governor Hogan announced that the State could move to Phase 3 of reopening. The Governor’s announcement was both surprising and disappointing because it was not in line with the careful, measured approach we are taking to the COVID-19 health crisis in Montgomery County. Local governments continue to be able to decide whether they will further relax restrictions, and we are reviewing what may be possible.

Although I want to see our community reopen as quickly as possible, we also must proceed with care. We will continue to follow the data and science in Montgomery County, as we have done every day throughout the pandemic. We are averaging about 70 cases of positive tests per day, which is concerning because the count is higher than a few weeks ago. Because we did not receive advance notice of the Governor’s decision, we are currently reviewing the situation to determine the best way forward for our residents and businesses while protecting the public health.

Earlier this week, I launched the community component of our Reimagining Public Safety initiative as the Reimagining Public Safety task force held its first meeting with community members and County and agency staff members. The task force will provide recommendations that will be focused on building a more equitable and inclusive County by promoting safe neighborhoods and communities. I was impressed by the participants’ experience and their willingness to contribute their expertise and ideas to help this effort. You can learn more about this initiative: Click Here.

You likely received an application for a mail-in ballot this week. Please request the mail-in ballot – you can return the paper application or you can request a ballot online.

You can also check online whether your request was received by Clicking Here. Please note that you have to enter your name and birthday to get to the screen where you can check whether your application was received. If you have requested a ballot online and mailed in an application, that’s okay. You will only receive one ballot, but you do not need to do both.

People should start receiving their ballots at the end of September. You will then be able to mail it back or you can drop it off at a secure and safe drop box. There will be about 40 drop boxes located around the County. There will be in-person early voting and election day voting, but the number of locations will be greatly reduced from traditional years. So the safest, easiest way to vote will be by using the mail-in ballot.

When reviewing your application for a ballot, be sure to request the ballot by mail, not the internet/email link—unless you absolutely need it.  The internet/email ballot requires two people to hand copy it to a ballot that can be scanned. That is enormously time consuming and challenging with physical distancing.

make your mailbox your ballot box

As Labor Day Weekend approaches, I want to wish everyone a happy Labor Day and ask that you take some time to honor our workers and the union movements that have fought for worker rights.  I also want to thank the many dedicated workers around the County who are helping keep us safe and healthy and who are educating our students. We need to thank the nurses, doctors, paramedics, police officers, firefighters bus drivers, custodians, garbage collectors, grocery workers, teachers and many more who are facing great challenges, but  continue to do their work amidst this pandemic.



Marc Elrich

P.S. Read below about the beginning of our electric vehicle Ride On bus fleet. It is an exciting initiative and an important step in addressing our climate change goals.


Marc Elrich, County Executive


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COVID-19 Testing Now Available at More than 45 Sites in County; Nine Upcoming Opportunities at Free County-Operated Sites

COVID19 testing

There are more than 45 sites in Montgomery County where residents can get tested for COVID-19, including County-operated and privately operated sites. There will be County-operating testing at nine sites on the upcoming schedule, but there will be no County testing on Monday, Sept. 7, because of the Labor Day holiday.

There may be a fee at privately operated sites. Residents should check in advance on any possible cost and available times with any privately operated site.

Testing at County sites is free, does not require a doctor’s referral and is available on a walkup basis.

The upcoming County-operated test site locations and operating hours are:

  • Friday, Sept. 4. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. PlumGar Community Recreation Center, 19561 Scenery Dr., Germantown.
  • Friday, Sept. 4. 9 a.m. -1 p.m. CDC Mobile Testing Trailer. Recreation Department Administration Building, 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.
  • Monday, Sept. 7. No testing. Labor Day Holiday. 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 8. 9 a.m. -1 p.m. White Oak Community Recreation Center, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center, 11701 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 9. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CDC Mobile Trailer, Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg (Parking lot near food court entrance, directly in front of Ride On transfer station).
  • Thursday, Sept. 10. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. White Oak Community Recreation Center, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring.
  • Thursday, Sept. 10. 1-7 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring.
  • Friday, Sept. 11. 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. PlumGar Community Recreation Center, 19561 Scenery Dr., Germantown.
  • Friday, Sept. 11. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CDC Mobile Testing Trailer, Recreation Department Administration Building, 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.


More Information

Montgomery County Government Holiday Schedule for Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7

Labor Day

Montgomery County Government will observe the following holiday schedule for Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7:

  • County offices – Closed.
  • Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) - Stores open from noon to 5 p.m.
  • Libraries – Closed. 
  • Montgomery Parks.
  • Recreation – Outdoor swim facilities will be open. Indoor pools at the Eunice Kennedy/Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center and at the Olney Swim Center will be open, but the indoor pool at the Martine Luther King, Jr. Center is closed for renovations and the Germantown Indoor Swim Center is closed for annual cleaning. All recreation centers, senior centers and administrative offices will be closed.
  • Ride On/ Ride On extRa– Operates on a Sunday schedule.
  • Ride On Flex – Currently not in service due to health crisis.
  • Shared Streets program – Closures: Arlington Road is closed to cars and open to pedestrians and cyclists to connect Downtown Bethesda to Montgomery Parks’ car-free Little Falls Parkway from 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 4, to 7 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8. For more information on MCDOT's Shared Streets program.
  • Metrorail and Metrobus.
  • MARC Train and Commuter Bus.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – Closed.
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – Open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup – County-provided trash and recycling collection will not be collected Monday, Sept. 7. After the holiday, County-provided recycling and trash collections will slide and be one date later than normal. Last pickup will be on Saturday, Sept. 12.
  • Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – Entire facility closed.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – Free.


  • State offices and courts – Closed.

Montgomery County Rolls Out First Four Electric Ride On Buses

electric bus

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich officially launched the County’s first four Ride On electric buses with a ceremonial “unplug” event on Thursday, Sept. 3, at the David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center in Rockville. The buses will go into service on Sept. 4. County Council President Sidney Katz, Council Transportation and Environment Committee Chair Tom Hucker, Department of General Services (DGS) Director David Dise and Department of Transportation (MCDOT) Director Chris Conklin joined County Executive Elrich for the event.

Each of the 35-foot buses, manufactured by Proterra, are approximately four to five times more efficient than diesel buses and yield an estimated annual fuel savings of $94,500 per vehicle. The cost of each bus is approximately $793,500. A $1.75 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration Low or No Emission Competitive Program helped to fund the new electric buses.

The new buses produce zero emissions during operations and also contribute to reducing noise pollution through their noticeably quiet operation. The average cost per mile for an electric bus is $0.21 per mile compared to $0.91 per mile for a diesel bus. An electric bus eliminates virtually all the fluids found in a traditional bus. Additionally, the braking system uses regenerative braking, which takes motion and heat produced from the braking process and converts it to electricity stored in the batteries and extends brake change intervals. Eliminating many mechanical components and replacing them with electrical ones improves reliability, increases efficiency and reduces maintenance costs.  

The two buses are part of the County’s Division of Fleet Management Services managed by the DGS. Fleet services is expected to add 10 additional electric buses by 2022 as part of the FTA Bus and Bus Facilities Grant.

The buses will operate on Routes 18 and 25, generally serving Langley Park, Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Bus schedules continue to operate modified service in response to the COVID-19 health crisis. Find more on current schedules and safety measures.


Green Initiatives

County Parks Playing Fields Available for Soccer Use Starting Monday, Sept. 14

girl in soccer field

Montgomery County’s Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF), an interagency board that schedules the use of facilities, will resume issuing field permits for soccer games in accordance with the County’s amended Executive Order No. 0980-20. That order re-categorized soccer from a high- to medium-risk sport, thereby allowing scrimmages and games to occur with conditions. Montgomery County Parks fields will be ready for play on Monday, Sept. 14.

Montgomery Parks staff and contractors are currently working to prepare fields for game play, including mowing, replacing goals and painting lines. School and County recreation fields are currently available for play in an “as is” condition. User groups may not paint lines on a school or recreation field without written permission from the school or recreation center.

Permits are available via

Fields for which CUPF issues permits include:

  • MCPS elementary and middle schools.
  • MCPS high schools (requires school business administrator’s written permission).
  • MCRD community recreation centers.
  • Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) local parks.

Per Montgomery County health guidelines, play must adhere to several conditions including:

  • All sports participants, regardless of age, must comply with the face covering requirement and social distancing and hygiene requirements.
  • Maximum of 50 people can be present, including staff, coaches, players, parents, guardians or immediate family.
  • Tournaments, championships and events are strictly prohibited, unless a Letter of Approval is issued by the County Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Play and games with teams from outside of Maryland, Virginia or the District of Columbia is prohibited.

Montgomery County is currently in Reopening Phase 2, which limits sports games, regardless of whether they are indoor or outdoor, to low- and medium-risk sports. View the County’s reopening guidelines for youth and adult sports for more information and sport classification.


Reserve Fields

Wheaton Revitalization Project Nears Completion as First Occupants Begin Moving In

wheaton revitalization project

The three-year construction of the Wheaton Revitalization Project is nearly complete as the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has announced that the building’s eventual owner and main tenant, the Maryland- National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC,) has started moving into its new home: a 14-story building in Downtown Wheaton.

The new headquarters will allow M-NCPPC to consolidate staff from multiple locations into one centralized building, making its operations more efficient and improving its ability to coordinate with co-located County agencies. 

MCDOT oversaw construction of the project that was built inside the Wheaton Triangle business district on a former MCDOT parking lot. The building has been designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification and has many innovative sustainable design features including geothermal heating and cooling, green roof areas, water harvesting and energy controls. 

In addition to the 308,000-square-foot, 14-story, office building, the Wheaton Revitalization Project also includes ground-floor retail and plaza spaces, a new Town Square adjacent to the building that will host public events and a four-level below-grade public parking structure.   

M-NCPPC will be the main tenant in the office building that also will be home to six Montgomery County agencies including the Department of Permitting Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Recreation, the Office of Community Use of Public Facilities and the Mid-County Regional Services Office. Those occupants will begin moving into the building over the next few months.


Wheaton Revitalization Project

Montgomery's Animal Services Assists Louisiana Animal Shelter Damaged by Hurricane Laura

Animal Services Adoption Center

Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center (MCASAC) is helping animals from a Louisiana animal shelter severely damaged by Hurricane Laura.

As a “Best Friends Network Partner,” MCASAC, which is located in Derwood, received requests for aid and reached out to a shelter whose buildings were damaged when the Category 4 storm hit a week ago. The Morehouse Humane Society in Bastrop, La., has been out of power since Aug. 27 and, despite generators and fans running, the area has been under a heat advisory. The dogs desperately needed a safe place. 

MCASAC agreed to take 16 dogs, which will empty the Morehouse Shelter and provide time for the shelter to be repaired.

Each dog will be evaluated medically and behaviorally before being made available for adoption. After being treated, some dogs may be available as early as next week. Others may need more time to settle down after a traumatic week that included transport. Prior to adoption, all dogs are altered, microchipped and given core vaccines.


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Deadline Extended to Nov. 9 for Public Comment on I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study; County Officials Seeking Resident Input by Friday, Oct. 16

townhall meeting

The Montgomery County Council and County Executive Marc Elrich jointly are seeking public input on the I-495 and I-270 Managed Lanes Study’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The DEIS includes traffic, environmental, engineering and financial analyses of the Build Alternatives and the No Build Alternative. The DEIS process provides an opportunity for residents, interest groups and other agencies to review and provide comments on the proposed federal action and the adverse and beneficial environmental impacts and proposed mitigation for unavoidable impacts.

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have extended the deadline for public comments. Residents can now provide comments to the SHA on the DEIS through Monday, Nov. 9.

County Executive Elrich and the Council are asking County residents who are testifying at SHA public hearings or sending correspondence to the SHA to also send copies and any attachments to County representatives no later than Friday, Oct. 16.

Information submitted to the County will be reviewed by both the legislative and executive branches of County government to guide feedback and inform the development of a detailed position by Wednesday, Nov. 4. County residents can submit feedback and testimony to Residents without access to the internet can mail their testimony or comments to the attention of Glenn Orlin at the Council Office Building (100 Maryland Ave., 4th floor, Rockville, Md., 20850).

The SHA held four virtual hearings in August and will hold two in-person hearings in September, including one in Montgomery County on Thursday, Sept. 10. Documents available for review are detailed and lengthy. Interested parties are encouraged to view information as soon as possible in order to allow time for review and consideration.


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Guru Gobind Singh Foundation: Finding New Paths and Partners in Giving

Guru Gobind Singh Foundation: Watch Video

Since the COVID-19 health crisis began, the Guru Gobind Singh Foundation (GGSF), a Sikh Spiritual Center in Rockville, has found three ways to help those experiencing food insecurity.

The Gudwara (Sikh Temple) offers free, freshly prepared meals to all who need it each Sunday from its Langar Hall, a community kitchen where vegetarian meals are traditionally served free to all visitors.

By May it was providing those meals in a drive-through capacity. Organizer Aman Shergill then realized that those they were serving needed more food to sustain them throughout the week.

She reached out to Patrick Campbell, Montgomery County’s Health and Human Services senior planning manager. He arranged for Gudwara to receive produce boxes for distribution at its site, and by June, it was up and running, sometimes providing milk, as well. Those two programs have grown to provide fresh meals and boxed produce to 500 to 700 people arriving by car each Sunday.

“Serving food to others is one of the main pillars of our faith,” said Rajwant Singh, the Foundation’s Secretary.

Its volunteers arrive at 6 a.m. on Sundays to begin preparing meals, which are ready for distribution, along with produce boxes, by 10 a.m.

Aman knew there was more the organization could do, since it had a large kitchen sitting idle most of the week, and volunteers eager to do more. Through her work on the board of directors for the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington and the Montgomery County Faith Community Advisory Council’s Education Committee, she knew there were other partners across faith communities interested in helping.

When Patrick learned they hoped to do more, he proposed something on a larger scale: the repackaging of bulk rice, lentils and beans the County received in quantities too large to distribute to individual families.

Aman soon had a dedicated core of volunteers of many faiths gathering Monday through Friday to repackage tens of thousands of pounds of bulk stables into family-sized bags for distribution through other nonprofit partners. To date, they have repackaged and distributed more than 150,000 pounds of rice, beans and lentils.

“We are so grateful to live in a place where we have such a strong interfaith community that can come together to help those in need during this hard time,” said Kayla Braithwaite, who volunteered with a group from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

For more information on how you can get involved with their efforts, visit their website or Facebook page for more details. If you are in need of food assistance, visit the County’s Food Resources webpage for help.


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