Montgomery County considers tightening COVID-19 restrictions

A rise in COVID-19 cases is forcing health officials in Montgomery County to tighten capacity restrictions once again. 

If the council approves the new executive order, businesses including restaurants, bars, salons, places of worship and fitness centers will be operating at 25 percent capacity starting Friday at 5 p.m, rather than the current capacity of 50 percent.

READ MORE: Health experts say Montgomery County is not in a 'good place' as COVID-19 numbers climb

In addition, the new executive order calls for restaurants to keep a daily record of indoor and outdoor dining customers for at least 30 days to help with contact tracing.

The information gathered would include names and contact information, along with the date and time that each customer visited the venue. 

Finally, the new order will cut off carryout and delivery services from restaurants at 10 p.m. and all alcoholic drinks would have to be removed from tables and collected unless an establishment has been approved for a late-night sales exception.

Gatherings would be reduced even more from 50 to 25 people. 

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“Instead of doing this little by little just do it all at once, everybody together and get everything under control and then start up again,” said Andreas Georgiou of The Block restaurant at Pike and Rose in N. Bethesda. “These little bits at a time I don’t think are going to help us in the long run.”

“We have been operating at 30 percent already and 25 percent will of course make it difficult for us but we want to make sure that we still continue to sign people up and they are able to utilize the gym,” said Will Gudelsky, fitness director at Onelife Fitness on Research Boulevard. 

Another measure introduced on Monday would have created a more restrictive limit on childcare capacity. But when some council members and families raised questions about it, they realized it was an error, prompting those services to be restored to 50 percent capacity which has been in place during the county’s phase 2 of the reopening.