MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — After seven consecutive days of moderate COVID-19 transmission levels, Montgomery County leaders officially gave the OK to get rid of the indoor mask mandate starting Thursday at 12:01 a.m., one of the last remaining COVID restrictions in the county.
During a press briefing Wednesday, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich said this is a cautious step forward.
“We got to these numbers by doing these things, and there’s lots of COVID still out there. If I were a citizen I would still wear [my mask], there’s no reason to take it off,” he said.
You could still be required to wear masks in certain spaces though, as Elrich explained, “any business or entity that serves the public can require indoor masking if they wish and can refuse entry for lack of compliance.”
What if the county enters substantial transmission levels again in a few days or weeks? Does the mask mandate immediately go back into effect? Dr. Earl Stoddard works on the county’s COVID response, he says that’s how he interprets the current legal language of the order.
“If we did go back to substantial transmission, [Acting County Health Officer Dr. James Bridgers] would be required to notify the council and that would retrigger the mask mandate and requirement. There are some councilmembers who are discussing the possibility of changing that.”
Students and staff will still be required to mask up in schools though. Montgomery County is also planning to roll out pediatric vaccinations, likely utilizing the county’s middle schools as vaccination hubs.