Montgomery County moves to Phase 2 of reopening; all COVID-19 restrictions to end on May 28

The Montgomery County Council approved a new regulation moving them into Phase 2 of their reopening plan and ending all COVID-19 restrictions on May 28.

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Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles and other officials meet Tuesday morning.

The vote incorporated changes associated with their phased reopening and provide updated mask guidance that would align them with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Maryland Department of Health.

Gayles also said 60 percent of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 50 percent of Montgomery County residents have received all required doses.

The regulation means:

- Businesses, restaurants and houses of worship could immediately return to 75-percent capacity

- Eliminates all outdoor capacity limits

- Indoor capacity limits increased to 250 people including camps and sports venues

- Convention and banquet facilities can also operate at 50 percent capacity

The regulation will trigger a full reopening plan in line with the State of Maryland and will lift all capacity and distancing restrictions for indoor and outdoor businesses and venues in Montgomery County on May 28 at 6 a.m.

"We are grateful to all our residents who have stepped up to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their loved ones, and our community," said Council President Tom Hucker in a statement. "We are thrilled to be able to restore a sense of normality for our business owners and residents who have made tremendous sacrifices for more than 14 months to protect public health. We will continue to support you during this recovery period and want to encourage everyone who hasn't been vaccinated to do so as soon as possible. We are proud to have swiftly met these milestones; but there is more work to do to keep our community healthy."

"Since the beginning of this year, we have made great progress vaccinating the residents of Montgomery County by prioritizing equity and addressing hesitancy," said a statement from Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. "By aligning our reopening to vaccination rates, our goal is to incentivize our residents to get vaccinated while also ensuring we are reopening as safely as possible."