Montgomery County re-instating indoor mask mandate this weekend

On the same day that the District announced it will be lifting its indoor mask mandate, its largest suburban Maryland county announced that they will be re-instating theirs.

Download the FOX 5 DC News App for Local Breaking News and Weather

FOX 5’s Stephanie Ramirez has confirmed that Montgomery County intends to reinstate its mask mandate starting at 12:01 Saturday morning.

Montgomery County Council decided the mask mandate would return after 7 days of what the CDC defines as "substantial transmission" of COVID 19.

County officials feared they would need to re-instate the measure shortly after they lifted it in late October.

READ MORE: Montgomery County won't bring back mask mandate after new COVID-19 data: officials

Officials lifted the order after emerging from a "substantial transmission" status to "moderate" status.

Montgomery County has since slipped back down to "substantial," but delayed issuing a new order right away.

FOX 5 spoke with the Vice President of the Montgomery County Council Gabe Albornoz and asked if he acknowledged that this going back and forth on the mandate might be confusing to people.

"We acknowledge it, we do. But we also acknowledge the virus is still here it hasn’t entirely left," says Albornoz. "So we do need to make sure that we take appropriate steps because we’re in the middle and have not yet completed the process of providing vaccinations for kids between five and 11."

DC is getting rid of its indoor mask despite still being in that "substantial transmission" category.

READ MORE: DC dropping indoor mask mandate Nov. 22

In Montgomery County, the council decided it will only abandon the mask mandate for good when 85 percent of the county is vaccinated.

Albornoz says he expects that to happen in January. He says there’s still a possibility the county’s chief health officer could advise changing course. 

Hospitalizations in the county remain very low, the positivity rate is under 2% and the vaccination rate is among the highest in the nation. Despite all that, in many places, you wouldn’t know the mask mandate ever left because so many still wear them.

READ MORE: Montgomery County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 to 11

FOX 5 has heard varying perspectives on the mandate's return.

"To me, you kind of set a moving goalpost for everybody," one viewer said. "So if you’re gonna tell somebody, ‘Hey, if you do this, you don’t have to do this. So if you get a vaccine, if you do this, you don’t have to wear a mask.’ But if they're as effective as they’re supposed to be, then why do you have to do both?"