Montgomery County Will Not Follow State in Lifting Outdoor Dining, Masking Restrictions

On Wednesday, Gov. Larry Hogan lifted Maryland’s outdoor COVID-19 mask mandate effective immediately and lifted all outdoor dining restrictions beginning Saturday, May 1.

Counties are allowed to enforce stricter COVID-19 regulations than the state, and Montgomery County leaders said Wednesday evening that current restrictions in the county will remain in place. On Tuesday, the council, sitting as the Board of Health, passed its latest regulation which implements reopenings based on the percentage of residents vaccinated. The first changes, including increasing gathering limits to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, went into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m.

“We will follow the CDC guidelines on masking per the existing Board of Health order which directs us to use the stricter of the CDC or state guidance,” County Executive Marc Elrich said in a statement. “Despite his statement on the website, the Governor’s order regarding masks does not comport with the CDC guidelines.”

“As far as outdoor dining restrictions, Montgomery County will not be aligned with the Governor’s new orders today but will continue to follow the County’s Board of Health regulations and guidance,” Elrich said. In a joint statement from both Elrich and the county council, leaders said their staff are reviewing Hogan’s order to see if there are any potential impacts on the council’s newest regulation.

During his presser, Hogan said the state expects to be able to take additional actions in weeks ahead as more Marylanders get vaccinated and health metrics improve. He noted that if you’re not vaccinated, public health experts strongly recommend you get your shots and wear a face covering outdoors until you do. He said masks are still required at large, ticketed venues, indoor businesses and on public transportation in Maryland.

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