Shortly after most Maryland counties began Phase 3 of reopening, Montgomery County announced further reopenings as well.
As of Friday evening venues like indoor and outdoor restaurants can offer live performances along with dining. No dancing or congregating around performers is allowed, and people must wear masks (unless eating) and stay seated while eating. Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties and Baltimore City are also still in Phase 2.
On Friday, Gov. Larry Hogan’s communications director called out Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich on Twitter for not allowing live performances to resume in the county after Elrich specifically asked Hogan to lift the restriction.
“No word yet I guess from the Montgomery County Executive on allowing live performances to safely resume. Here’s his August 13 letter urging the governor to allow live performances,” Communications Director Mike Ricci tweeted.
No word yet I guess from the Montgomery County Executive on allowing live performances to safely resume.
Here's his August 13 letter urging the governor to allow live performances. pic.twitter.com/DxTyl8Drw3
— Michael Ricci (@riccimike) September 4, 2020
He attached an Aug. 13 letter Elrich sent to Hogan and State Secretary of Health Robert Neall. In the letter, Elrich says he thinks there is no good reason to totally prohibit live performances instead of allowing them with safety measures in place. Other facilities like religious buildings have been allowed to reopen with restrictions. In Montgomery County, the limit on gatherings is 50 people except for outdoor religious services, for which the limit is 150 people.
Elrich asked Hogan to lift the live performance restriction and limit audiences to less than 50 people. He said no mingling, table-visiting, gathering by the stage or standing in groups should be allowed and people should have to remain seated during performances. Elrich also said dancing should be prohibited and people should wear face coverings.
On Tuesday Hogan answered Elrich’s request when he announced that Maryland was moving to Phase 3 of reopening at 5 p.m. Friday. Indoor theaters can show live performances and movies at 50% capacity or 100 people maximum, whichever is less and outdoor venues can do the same at 50% capacity or 250 maximum, whichever is less.
However, after Hogan’s announcement, Elrich said he did not know it was coming. During a virtual media briefing Wednesday he said Montgomery County is not ready for Phase 3, however Phase 2 will continue to be modified.
On Thursday Elrich told MyMCMedia that he had asked Hogan to lighten up on live entertainment restrictions and said the county would modify its restrictions for live performances as well.
Elrich spoke with MyMCMedia about live performances and his request to Hogan: