MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and other officials were greeted with slurs and boos Thursday afternoon as they revealed details on the much anticipated phase one reopening.
With raucous members of those in the crowd shouting accusations including “dictator” and “fascist,” Elrich announced Montgomery County will begin the process June 1 - with restrictions comparable to phase one state guidelines in place.
Long after Maryland Governor Larry Hogan revealed the Maryland Strong Road to Recovery plan’s first phase, Montgomery County had yet to establish plans to reopen the economy in one of the state’s most heavily populated regions.
As recently as Wednesday, Elrich declined to establish a date for reopening.
The county executive insists that he wanted to hear the governor's Wednesday evening news conference before moving forward on reopening.
Hogan announced on Wednesday that Montgomery County had dropped to a 14.6 percent infection rate.
Phase one reopening for Montgomery County will include outdoor restaurant dining, barbershop service by appointment only, and curbside service for retailers.
After the news conference, the county executive's office released a full list of phase one's new features, including:
- Retail; curbside only
- Restaurants and bars; outdoor seating (curbside pick-up still allowed)
- Childcare; State-approved emergency programs open for dependents of essential employees and Phase 1 reopening employees
- Personal Services; hair salons and barber shops for hair only appointments
- Car washes; exterior cleaning only
- Manufacturing; fully reopen with precautions and guidance
- Outdoor Day Camps: following Maryland Department of Health guidelines
- Outdoor Youth Sports; following Maryland Department of Health guidelines
- Certain outdoor recreation continues to be permitted; golf courses, archery, shooting ranges, marinas, campgrounds, horseback riding facilities and tennis courts.
The following businesses and services remain closed:
- Swimming pools; (however, licensing and inspection can be requested and conducted)
- Senior Centers
- Fitness Centers
- Movie Theaters
- Shopping Malls
- Nail Salons
You can read the county executive's complete statement regarding phase one by clicking here.
Montgomery County health officer Travis Gayles says phase one is possible because the metrics are heading in the right direction.
"We have made tremendous progress in terms of the benchmarks we have set forward in terms of being able to reopen businesses and reopen aspects recreation and other aspects in terms of our daily life," Gayles said.
When the governor introduced phase one of the reopening process, he clarified that the process was beginning at the state level, enabling local jurisdictions to decide whether to open alongside the state or not.
The DMV region’s first cases were identified in Montgomery County, and the county has consistently maintained one of the state’s highest COVID-19 case totals, right behind neighboring Prince George’s County.
This is a breaking news update – we’ll have additional details shortly.