D.C.'s decision to lift the indoor mask mandate isn't sitting well with the Montgomery County executive, who says the difference in policy puts added pressure for the Maryland county to get more children vaccinated as quickly as possible.
Montgomery County, Maryland, will reinstate its indoor mask mandate on Saturday after recording seven consecutive days of “substantial” COVID-19 transmission. But in D.C., no mask will be required in most public settings on Monday, when the city's indoor mask mandate is lifted.
County Executive Marc Elrich fears the differing approaches to stopping the spread could make for more setbacks this winter.
"Not just the holiday, it's getting colder so everything becomes an indoor activity. I do think it is premature and I would feel a lot better about this if we had our kids vaccinated," Elrich told News4.
While the health department has distributed its half of the initial 39,000 doses the county received of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for children 5-11, private providers are sitting on the other half of the vaccines, according to health officials.
The health department says it's also unclear if the county will receive more doses of the 5-11 vaccine this week.
"Doses in refrigerators are not going to protect our 5 to 11 year olds during Thanksgiving and other winter holidays," said Dr. Earl Stoddard, the director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
Stoddard said the doses private practices have should be moved to agencies that can get shots in arms more effectively.