As CDC and Governor Hogan Lift Restrictions, Confusion Prevails in Montgomery County

Heather Jauquet

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The CDC announced an update on May 13, 2021, that “fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

During his press conference on Friday, May 14, 2021, Maryland’s Governor Hogan has lifted the mask guidelines for the state, stating that “barring transportation, healthcare facilities, and schools” you don’t need to wear a mask indoor an outdoors. He stated businesses can still set their own policies, but there will be no legal mandate from the state. 

Update that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance —CDC

What Does This Mean For Montgomery County?

When Governor Hogan shut down the state in March 2020, Montgomery County went into strict lockdown. As COVID infections decreased and as the state began to ease some of the restrictions, Montgomery County followed more slowly.

With the latest updates from both the CDC and Governor Hogan, there is some confusion and concern as to what it means for Montgomery County. Governor Hogan states “jurisdictions can make their own decisions for stricter regulations” and Montgomery County has done exactly that. Mask requirements are still in effect for Montgomery County, confusing residents as to which guidelines they should follow: the CDC, Maryland, or Montgomery County?

As of right now, Montgomery County residents need to follow the county guidelines which are ever-changing based on the number of vaccinations in the county.

Montgomery is following a 3-phase approach to reopening depending on when and how many residents are vaccinated.  

Montgomery County Council Member, Evan Glass, tweeted on Monday, May 17, 2021, that 60% of Montgomery County’s residents have received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine, which moves Montgomery County into Phase 2 of their 3-phase approach. 

With that information, the Montgomery County Board of Health, also known as the Council, will meet on Tuesday, May 18th to make changes to the current guidelines based on the vaccination numbers. According to Glass’ tweet, the following changes can include:

  • Remove the capacity restrictions on outdoor gatherings and raise the capacity restrictions on indoor gatherings to 250 people
  • Remove the requirement to wear a face covering when outdoors pursuant to recent CDC and MDH guidance.
  • Individuals who are fully vaccinated would not need to wear a face covering while indoors, but unvaccinated individuals must continue to wear a face covering when indoors
  • Align the requirements for summer camps with the State’s requirements.

Once Montgomery County is in Phase 3 they will follow state guidelines. Phase 3 includes having 50% of the county’s population fully vaccinated two weeks after a second dose or one dose vaccine. 

“We are truly closer than ever to getting back to a sense of normalcy. But once again the fastest way to get rid of our damn masks, and put this pandemic behind us once and for all, is for every single eligible Maryland to get vaccinated as quickly as possible.”—Governor Hogan

What do you think of the new guidelines? Are you ready to shed the mask or will you keep it on for a little longer?

I am ready to shed the mask, but I am grateful for the guidelines that were put in place to keep us safe for the last year. I am ready to see your smiling faces again.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

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Heather Jauquet writes articles centered around the DMV and her adventures in other local communities. Follow her to get information about Montgomery County education, government, and community news. When she's not writing, she's running.

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