Reopening Montgomery: Moving Carefully into Fall

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

reopening montgomery updates

Visit for Latest Updates

September 10, 2020 |  Bookmark and Share

A Message from County Executive Marc Elrich

County Executive Marc Elrich

Dear Friends

Election day is less than two months away, and for those who have ordered mail-in ballots (it is not too late to do that), they will begin arriving in just a few weeks. 

This will be an election unlike any we have experienced. Here in Montgomery County, we will only have about 40 polling places open throughout the County on election day (usually there are 255 voting locations). Here’s some important information:

  • There are three ways to vote: by mail, in-person early voting (Monday, Oct. 26, through Monday, Nov. 2) and in-person election day (Tuesday, Nov. 3).
  • Voting by mail is the best way to avoid lines and crowds. You must apply for a ballot – either with the application you should have received in the mail or online.
  • If you apply for a mail-in ballot, please request a ballot in the mail – not through an email link (unless you have to).
  • The email link/internet version requires two people to hand copy the results onto a ballot that can be scanned – that is a lot of work and will slow the final vote count.
  • You can check the status of your ballot application online.
  • Paper ballots will begin to arrive in the mail in late September or the beginning of October. They come with a postage pre-paid envelope to mail back.
  • Vote by mail ballots must be postmarked on or before election day. Mail early or plan to  put your mail-in ballot in a voting drop box.
  • Secure drop boxes will be located at all early voting sites beginning Oct. 1 and at all voting centers on Oct. 15. A list of all locations will be included with your ballot. 
  • Please SIGN THE AFFIDAVIT printed on the envelope that holds your ballot. Do not sign the ballot.
  • Early voting from Oct. 26 through Nov 2 will be available at 11 sites around the County. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. You can early vote at any center, regardless of where you live in the County.
  • You can register to vote until Tuesday, Oct. 13, and also at early voting centers and on Election Day. More information on how to register is available at MD Board of Elections website. Online registration is recommended if possible.
  • Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 3, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. 


Marc Elrich
7days average percentage of new confirmed cases in the age group 1-19 yrs


Marc Elrich, County Executive

P.S.: Please join me during a series of virtual forums we will be holding as we prepare the Fiscal Year 2022 County Operating Budget. The first forum will begin at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 14. See the County website on the day of the forum to learn how to join the meeting. 

P.P.S.: You may be interested to watch the video where I discuss some of the data we are tracking to understand and monitor the situation of the COVID-19 health crisis and how it is impacting Montgomery County.


Watch Video

County Eases Restrictions on Live Performances While Remaining in Phase 2 Reopening

live concert

Montgomery County, while remaining in Phase 2 guidelines of reopening as the COVID-19 health crisis continues, is now allowing venues such as indoor and outdoor restaurants to include live performances as part of their dining experience. However, establishments are prohibited from allowing dancing or congregating in front of the performers.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Travis Gayles announced the expanded guidelines after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan revised his executive order allowing performances starting Sept. 4. County Executive Elrich had previously requested the Governor include live performances as part of the State reopening guidelines.

Individuals present where live performances are held must wear masks unless they are eating or drinking. In addition, they must be seated while eating and drinking.

Governor Hogan last week announced that more activities would be allowed statewide under his Phase 3 guidelines. Montgomery officials are reviewing those guidelines to determine if the County could also allow some version of those activities.

“Although we will not be moving into Phase 3, we will continue to evaluate areas where restrictions might be modified,” said County Executive Elrich. “Allowing live music with restrictions at restaurants is an example of the cautious steps that we are taking toward reopening and we will work on appropriate guidance for other live venues beyond what we are doing for restaurants. Our careful, measured approach using data and science to make our decisions is likely part of the reasons that transmission of the virus in Montgomery County has remained relatively stable over the last few months.”


Press Release

COVID-19 Testing Now Available at More than 45 Sites in County; 13 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-operated testing at 13 sites on the upcoming schedule,

Testing at County sites is free, does not require a doctor’s referral and is available by making advance appointments or on a walk-up basis. Reservations can be made online at

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

The upcoming County-operated test site operation hours are:

  • 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.
  • Monday, Sept. 14. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center 11701 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.
  • Monday, Sept. 14. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Germantown outdoor drive-up clinic (parking garage behind Regal Cinema), 20002 Century Blvd., Germantown.
  • Tuesday, Sept. 15. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. White Oak Community Recreation Center, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring. 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 15. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Germantown outdoor drive-up clinic (parking garage behind Regal Cinema), 20002 Century Blvd., Germantown.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center 11701 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 16. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CDC Mobile Trailer outdoor drive-up clinic. Walkups welcomed, Lakeforest Mall, 701 Russell Avenue, Gaithersburg (Parking lot near food court entrance, directly in front of Ride On transfer station). 
  • Thursday, Sept. 17.9 a.m.-1 p.m. White Oak Community Recreation Center, 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring. 
  • Thursday, Sept. 17. 1-7 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring.
  • Thursday, Sept. 17. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Germantown outdoor drive-up clinic (parking garage behind Regal Cinema), 20002 Century Blvd., Germantown.
  • Friday, Sept. 18. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.Germantown outdoor drive-up clinic (parking garage behind Regal Cinema), 20002 Century Blvd., Germantown.
  • Friday, Sept. 18. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. CDC Mobile Testing Trailer, Recreation Department Administration Building, 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.


More Information

‘Reopen Montgomery Small Business Grants’ Still Available to Provide Reopening Assistance Grants of Up to $5,000

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, is continuing to accept applications from businesses to help with reopening expenses  incurred to comply with County and State health and safety reopening requirements related to the COVID 19 health crisis. The $14 million program, which was launched in July, is helping businesses with grants that could be as much as $5,000.

Businesses and nonprofit organizations may be eligible for grants for expenditures they have incurred related to health and safety requirements from the State and County for reopening their business between March 16, 2020, and 30 days following the date when the County declares it is moving to Phase 3 of 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

Questions about the Reopen Montgomery program can be emailed to

The program to date has received 2,560 applications. At this point, 287 applications have been approved, with an average grant of $3,438. A total of $986,753 has been approved for qualified applicants and approximately $13 million remains available for awards.

Applicants who have received grants less than the allowable maximum and who have additional eligible expenses can reapply for additional grants.


Visit Website

Community Invited to Virtually Participate in Montgomery Planning’s 'I-270 Corridor Forward' Plan Kickoff on Sept. 30

Corridor Forward’ Plan Kickoff on Sept. 30

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is inviting residents along the I-270 Corridor, the County’s main north-south corridor, to participate in the kickoff meeting for “Corridor Forward: The I-270 Transit Plan” through an online meeting from noon to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 30. RSVPs are required.

RSVP for the September 30 Corridor Forward Virtual Kick Off Meeting.

The Corridor Forward Plan will evaluate transit options that could serve I-270 Corridor communities and employment centers between Frederick and Tysons, Va. The plan will assess different transit options to support existing communities and also position the County’s I-270 corridor as a prime location for economic development.

Following evaluation, Montgomery Planning will develop an implementation plan to ensure resources are directed to the most efficient and valuable transit projects.

The online kickoff event will take place on the Microsoft Teams Live platform. Montgomery Planning staff will provide an overview of the project purpose and describe the importance of planning for transit in the I-270 Corridor. Participants are invited to complete the Transit Values Questionnaire in advance of the meeting, as well as review a series of videos produced to explain transit planning considerations. The meeting will also include a moderated panel discussion with agency and transit partners as well as an opportunity for participants to engage in a live question and answer session.

Montgomery Planning welcomes questions in advance of the kickoff meeting. Questions can be submitted at Transit Values Questionnaire.


More Information

New Floating Launch for Non-Motorized Boats Improves Accessibility and Safety for Users of Seneca Landing Park at Riley's Lock

New Floating Launch for Non-Motorized Boats Improves Accessibility and Safety for Users of Seneca Landing Special Park

A new floating launch for non-motorized boats has greatly improved accessibility and safety for kayakers, canoeists and paddle boarders at Seneca Landing Park in Poolesville. The area commonly known as Riley's Lock. 

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, recently completed construction of the floating launch—a project that was strongly supported by the County’s Commission for People with Disabilities and the County Commission on Veterans Affairs.

The site is one of the busiest access points to the Potomac River and also adjoins the National Park Service’s extensively utilized C&O Canal. Prior to completion of the new floating launch, motorized and non-motorized boats were sharing the same ramp, causing conflict and safety issues. The original ramp also is not ADA accessible, presenting numerous challenges for users with disabilities. 

As part of the project, Montgomery Parks also installed an accessible drop-off area and walkway, three accessible parking spaces and a fully accessible picnic area with tables and grills.

The need for an accessible boat launch was initiated by Team River Runner, a nonprofit organization that provides adventure and adaptive paddle sports to veterans and their families. It approached the County Commission on Veterans Affairs about the need for an accessible launch and was assisted by the Commission on the project. 

On Sundays from May to November, Team River Runner hosts a kayak program at Seneca Landing with patients from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, as well as veterans from the community.

A second phase of the project, which will include accessibility upgrades to improve safety, expand capacity and enhance accessibility of the existing boat ramp for motorized boats, is scheduled to begin this winter. 


More Information

Montgomery County and Business Partners Launch #MaskUpMoCo Campaign

mask up montgomery

Montgomery County Government, partnering with the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, Visit Montgomery and the local business community, has launched a multi-platform campaign to educate County residents and visitors about the importance of wearing a mask in public and outdoors when unable to maintain physical distance during the COVID-19 health crisis.

#MaskUpMoCo is a partnership between the County government and the business community and comes from a shared recognition that in order to continue reopening the County safely, businesses and government must work together to promote public health best practices. The campaign, which will be promoted in seven languages, will include social media messaging, Ride On bus ads, public service announcements, lawn signs and print materials for businesses (including window signs to display).

The #MaskUpMoCo campaign is the latest effort to urge residents to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by properly wearing a mask whenever they cannot maintain six feet of distance. To minimize risk of exposure to COVID-19, everyone over age 2 should wear a face covering that covers their chin, mouth, and nose.

“One of the most important things we can all do is to wear a mask and wear it properly,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “The data show that wearing a face covering is one of the most important ways to reduce the spread of the virus. Wearing a mask allows our businesses to be open and operate safely. Please don’t make a business owner have to ask you to wear a mask. Wear a mask to protect yourself and those around you. Together we will get through this.”

Wheaton Revitalization Project Dedicated as County Agencies and Departments Soon Will Occupy New Downtown Office Building

Wheaton Revitalization Project

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Sidney Katz on Sept. 3 led ceremonies dedicating the 14-story County office building that is the focal point of the Wheaton Revitalization Project. Ribbon-cutting ceremonies, which included Councilmembers Andrew Friedson, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer, marked the moving in of the building’s first occupants—and building owners—from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC).

Among those joining the ceremonies were M-NCPPC Director Casey Anderson; Planning Board members Gerald Cichy, Natali Faní González, Tina Patterson and Partap Singh Verma; and Chris Conklin, director of the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT). The three-year construction project to spur the redevelopment of Downtown Wheaton was led by MCDOT and built in the center of the Wheaton Triangle business district atop a former MCDOT parking lot. It is the largest building project ever constructed by the County.

The project enables M-NCPPC to have most of its employees located at a central location. Its former main location was in Downtown Silver Spring. It also allows the County to consolidate many key departments, which were in scattered locations, into a single building. The official building address is 2425 Reedie Dr. in Wheaton.

The office building will be home to six Montgomery County agencies including the Department of Permitting Services (DPS), the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Licensure and Regulatory Services section, 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.

The building, which will have approximately 900 employees, 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 14-story, 308,000-square-foot office building, the Wheaton Revitalization Project also includes ground-floor retail, four levels of below-ground parking and the Marian Fryer Town Square. The town square includes public space with an amphitheater for people to gather and enjoy programming throughout the year. There is a fountain on the plaza.

DPS Offices will be moving to Wheaton in October. Although DPS offices will continue to be closed to walk-in customers as the COVID-19 health crisis continues, DPS has expanded its services and continues to provide customer point of contact, free pre-design consultation and case management services. DPS will accept certain documents at the DPS Customer Dropoff that will be located on the seventh floor of the new building. 


Wheaton Revitalization

Fourth Annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival Will Bring Art to the Streets Over Two-Week Period Starting Sunday, Sept. 20

Fourth Annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival

The COVID-19 health crisis has led to many changes in activities planned for 2020, including to the Fourth Annual Wheaton Arts Parade & Festival. However, even with a new look for this year, the Wheaton Arts Parade will again bring art to the streets of Downtown Wheaton. It also will have a virtual festival of art.

The traditional one-day celebration will become a two-week event, starting Sunday, Sept. 20. This year’s event will have art installations placed around the downtown area so visitors can experience the works of local artists day or night. The arts presentations also can be viewed virtually.

At noon on opening day, County Executive Marc Elrich and County Council President Sidney Katz will kick off the festival by unveiling an eight-foot pyramid in the first event on the new Marian Fryer Town Plaza. The plaza, on Reedie Drive, is adjacent to the recently opened 14-story County office building.

The “Path of Pyramids” and “Yarn Bomb” themed event will have eight-foot and four-foot high work of art painted and sculpted by local artists and installed around Downtown Wheaton from the town plaza to the Westfield Wheaton mall. The path also will extend north on Georgia Avenue to the Wheaton Library and Community Recreation Center complex.

Among the art on display will be a pyramid created in collaboration with One Montgomery Green using non-recyclable plastics. Another pyramid is a mosaic created by families from Wheaton’s Latinx community as a tribute to their Salvadoran heritage. Linking the pyramids will be the “Yarn Bomb,” color hangings from lampposts that were crocheted by Wheaton area residents.

The Path of Pyramids will be on display through Sunday, Oct. 4.


More Information

Free Virtual Tax Appointments Available for Eligible County Residents Through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program

VITA tax help

The Community Action Agency's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program is using a virtual tax preparation model during the COVID-19 emergency. Virtual VITA allows eligible residents to have their taxes prepared for free by a certified tax preparer using an online platform.  No in-person contact is required. 

VITA is scheduling off-season appointments for 2018 and 2019 and amended tax returns for those years. Appointments are available for those living in Montgomery County with household income of $56,000 or less. Appointments are available on weekdays during regular business and evening hours.  Call 240-777-1123 to schedule an appointment.  


Visit Website