Montgomery County

Montgomery County to Maintain Restaurant Limits, Some Outdoor Masking

Gov. Larry Hogan has lifted Maryland's statewide outdoor mask requirement, but the CDC recommends unvaccinated people continue masking in many situations

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Montgomery County has decided to take a more cautious approach to rolling back COVID-19 mask requirements and restaurant rules than the state of Maryland.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced rolled back statewide regulations on Wednesday, urging people to get vaccinated to protect against COVID-19. Most outdoor mask requirements are lifted and restrictions on dining outside will end Saturday.

Montgomery County, however, will keep stronger local restrictions.

Executive Marc Elrich says lifting the outdoor mask mandate altogether goes too far.

"County residents should continue to follow face-covering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Elrich said in a statement.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say most people can skip masks when outside and socially distanced but still recommends unvaccinated people cover their faces in many situations.

Montgomery County leaders say they will opt out of the changes for restaurants this weekend.

"We learned of Gov. Hogan's order when it was announced publicly so our staff are reviewing the state order to determine any potential impacts on the Board of Health regulation,” Elrich said.

Montgomery County is changing its approach to reopening. Instead of solely relying on virus metrics, lifting restrictions will depend on the percentage of people who have been vaccinated. In a unanimous vote Tuesday afternoon, county leaders approved a new three-phase reopening plan. News4’s Cory Smith explains the changes.

The county this week announced a phased approach to reopening tied to the percentage of people who are vaccinated. The county would follow state guidelines once half of residents are fully vaccinated.

NBC Washington has reached out to Prince George's County to see if they plan to follow the new order, but have not yet heard back.

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