Frustrations high among business owners, parents in Montgomery County

Frustrations are high among business owners and parents in Montgomery County. They’re still wondering why the county can’t move into phase 3 of reopening if many of the metrics are pointing in the right direction.

Montgomery County remains in phase 2, which means restaurants can still only open at 50 percent capacity and that’s if the restaurants and businesses are able to open up at all.

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On Wednesday evening, many were closed, the outdoor dining area was mostly empty, and many residents and business owners say they're frustrated.

Montgomery County leaders held their weekly COVID-19 update via zoom Wednesday and FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis asked them more about what’s guiding their decision to stay in phase 2.

“To me, the most important of the metrics is the positivity rate,” said County Executive Marc Elrich without offering additional specifics.

 Montgomery County leaders said the case count is 72 and the test positivity rate is 2.6 for the county. They assert that’s higher than where the county was two months ago and also say it’s justification for remaining in phase 2, despite much of the rest of the state moving into phase 3.

On a county dashboard, some metrics are posted detailing what’s needed to move through the phases including a continued decline in new cases in an environment of increased testing. 

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The county has reportedly met this goal for 7 of the last 14 days — the goal is to meet each metric for 14 of the last 14 days.

One restaurant owner says revenue is down by half and if restrictions remain in place through the fall and winter seasons, they may not survive.

The county posted online it also has the goal of a sustained decline in new COVID-related deaths. Montgomery County has met this goal for five of the last 14 days.