Montgomery Co. to enter Phase Two on June 19

Montgomery County will enter Phase Two of reopening from COVID-19 restrictions on Friday, officials announced Monday.

The most populated county in Maryland has “achieved its benchmarks” and will enter Phase Two at 5 p.m. on Friday, County Executive Marc Elrich and Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles said in a statement.


Phase Two in Montgomery County loosens coronavirus pandemic-related restrictions even further for more businesses and certain activities. With Phase Two:

      • Retail businesses can offer curbside and limited in-store services, with one customer per 200 square feet of sales space
      • Restaurants can offer limited indoor dining with restrictions — up to 50% capacity maximum indoors, if social distancing can be maintained
      • Child care programs can reopen with restrictions
      • Gyms and other indoor physical activities can reopen with restrictions
      • Houses of worship can offer limited indoor services with restrictions
      • Social gatherings, indoors and outdoors, are limited to a maximum of 50 people or one person/family unit per 200 square feet, whichever is lower
      • Barbershops and hair and nail salons are appointment-only, with restrictions
      • Car washes can reopen for internal and external cleanings
      • Office spaces and multi-tenant commercial buildings can allow limited nonessential personnel use with restrictions, but telework is still strongly encouraged
      • Indoor and outdoor pools (public and private) can open with restrictions
      • Outdoor day camps have expended openings, with requirements, and outdoor youth sports have expanded for low-contact sports
      • Parks can open for personal fitness and fitness classes, with requirements, and playgrounds reopen also with restrictions
      • Ride On expands its schedules and routes

Still closed in Phase Two are concert halls and theaters, senior centers libraries and recreation facilities. Find more details about Phase Two here.

Social distancing measures should still be maintained, as should cleaning and disinfecting. Employees and customers should still be covering their faces.

COVID-19 positivity rates, hospitalizations drop again

All 24 jurisdictions in Maryland have seen their COVID-19 positivity rates drop to single digits as the number of related hospitalizations continues to decrease.

Maryland’s rolling seven-day average dropped to 6.55% as the state completed its first month under Phase One of reopening, Gov. Larry Hogan said in a statement Monday. It’s the first time the rate dropped more than 60% since May 15, and down more than 75% since its peak on April 17.

Half of the state’s jurisdictions are now below a 5% positivity rate, with Garrett County reporting no cases. Meanwhile, counties near D.C. that were highly affected by the virus are inching closer to the statewide average.

Prince George’s County saw its positivity rate decrease to 9.88%, making significant strides from its height at 41.96%. Montgomery County saw its positivity rate drop to 8.06%, a 2.2 percentage drop compared to last week’s report.

Other noteworthy numbers include Baltimore City at 7.29%; Anne Arundel County is at 7.63%; St. Mary’s County is at 3.36%; Talbot at 1.24%; and Somerset at 1.07%. According to the state, there have been no cases associated with the state’s poultry processing facilities in the first 14 days in June.

More Coronavirus News

Looking for more information? D.C., Maryland and Virginia are each releasing more data every day. Visit their official sites here: Virginia | Maryland | D.C.

In the past eight weeks, coronavirus testing has risen by 510%. More than 500,000 tests have been completed, Hogan said.

State officials credit the growing number of tests completed to the number of testing sites, which has grown to 150. They’re listed on the state’s coronavirus website.

“Once again, we are strongly encouraging anyone who wants to be tested and anyone who has been in any large gathering or who may have been exposed, especially those who are in or who are around vulnerable populations, to get tested,” Hogan said.

With Maryland’s positivity numbers continuing to drop, its COVID-19 hospitalization and death rates have decreased. Its weekly confirmed death numbers took a 25% dip form last week. Meanwhile, its hospitalization dropped to 745, while ICU beds also dropped below 300 for the first time since April 6.

MedStar Health, which has 10 hospitals in D.C. and Maryland, celebrated its 2,500th patient to recover from COVID-19 at its Southern Maryland Hospital in Clinton on Saturday. Fort Washington resident Misael Ochoa, 48, was greeted by hospital staff lined up, singing and cheering for him on as he left the hospital.

He was admitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia. After several days of treatments with oxygen, antibiotics and other medications, according to a news release, Ochoa’s health improved well enough that he could go home with his family.

His discharge comes six weeks after the health care system discharged its 1,000th patient.

Free COVID-19 testing sites in Prince George’s Co.

The Prince George’s County Health Department opened a new COVID-19 testing site at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center. There are now three county-run free testing sites:

      • Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center — appointment only
        7120 Contee Road, Laurel, Maryland, 20707
        Monday — Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
        Call (301) 883-6627 for appointments
      • Rollingcrest-Chillum Recreation Center — appointment only
        6120 Sargent Road, Chillum, Maryland, 20782
        Monday — Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
        Call (301) 883-6627 for appointments
      • Cheverly Health Center — appointment only
        3003 Hospital Drive, Cheverly, Maryland, 20782
        Monday — Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
        Call (301) 883-6627 for appointments

The sites accommodate people who come in vehicle or by foot, but they need an appointment.

The health department is also working to open more COVID-19 testing sites in the southern and central parts of the county.

Prince George’s County entered Phase Two of the reopening plan Monday.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

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