Montgomery County officials maintaining strict coronavirus restrictions during holiday season

With the one-two punch of the holiday season and stricter precautions against COVID-19 returning, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is calling on local governments in his state to step up safety inspections for retail businesses.

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In Gaithersburg on Thursday, people queued up in long lines outside of Sam’s Club as the store limited the number of people allowed inside.

Capacity limits at retailers shrank to 25% under an executive order last week from Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich.
Shoppers who talked to FOX 5 said they were being careful.

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“Well we were lucky. When we got here there was no line. I love the Sam’s Club app because you don’t have to interact with anyone,” one shopper said.

Tonight, Montgomery County officials say they’re beefing up their inspection teams – especially at big box stores, warehouses, and supermarkets, which have been open throughout the pandemic.

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Dr. Earl Stoddard, the county’s emergency director, says he is adding staff to carry out the inspections.

They’re targeting store capacity, cleaning and social distancing.
“Recently, the numbers have either increased in terms of people being allowed in the stores or there has been a waning of compliance when it comes to face coverings, cleaning and other measures, so we're going to be doing a lot more proactive enforcement in our big box stores," said Stoddard. 

Last weekend, county officials visited all of the “street-eries” and found them to be in compliance for the most part.

Officials say they are also going to revisit construction sites to make sure they are still in compliance as well.