Montgomery County entered Phase 2 on June 19th at 5 pm. Thanks to increased testing capacity and a large-scale contact tracing effort with the state of Maryland, Montgomery County has decreased hospitalizations and seen positive trends in the death rate and test positivity. With a close eye on public health data, the County has reopened businesses and plans to continue with incremental reopening in Phase 2.
To many of us who have been restricted to our Chevy Chase and Bethesda homes for the past four months, this is the moment we’ve been waiting for. Well, sort of. There are still restrictions, it doesn’t include all businesses, and yes, there will still be face masks.
What does Phase 2 entail?
It allows businesses and activities to start and/or increase operations under specific guidelines. Guidelines include restrictions on capacity, social distancing measures, and drive-in options where applicable.
The following businesses are included in these measures:
- Houses of Worship
- Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings (max of 50, see below for more info)
- Hair Salons/Barbers/Nail Salons/Dog Groomers
- Car Washes
- Office Spaces (telework still strongly encouraged)
- Indoor and Outdoor Pools
- Outdoor Day Camps
- Outdoor Youth Sports (low-contact sports)
- Parks & Playgrounds
- Ride On Bus Services
- Hospitals and Health Care
- Yard Sales
The following businesses and services will remain closed in Phase 2:
- Concerts and Theaters
- Senior Centers
- Recreation Facilities
Planning a Summer Gathering or Party?
As stated above, indoor and outdoor gatherings such as weddings, funerals, and graduation parties are permitted in Phase 2, as long as these requirements are met:
- Limit to 1 person or household per 200 sq. ft or a maximum of 50 people — whichever is lower
- The size of the location must accommodate social distancing for the number of attendees (6 feet apart)
- Follow General Operating Requirements which include general markings and signage, all attendees over the age of 2 to wear a mask, require employees to wash hands hourly, and use CDC and Environmental Protection Agency approved disinfectants to clean high contact surfaces every 2 hours
Do I have to wear a face mask all the time?
If you’re in public, the answer is yes. This includes grocery stores, retail businesses, religious services, restaurants (except while eating and drinking), gyms and fitness centers (even while exercising), outdoor markets, pools (except when in the water), childcare centers, and more. The only exceptions are for those under the age of 2 and those who have a health problem that it makes it difficult for them to wear a face covering.
When will Phase 3 Begin?
Montgomery County doesn’t have that answer now. Just as with Phase 2, they will be guided by public health data and hospital capacity.