Montgomery County leaders defend Maryland’s only indoor dining ban

Two Montgomery County leaders are standing by the county’s ban on indoor dining, the only one in Maryland.

County Council President Tom Hucker said Monday that “we all want” indoor dining to resume at restaurants across the county — “We all miss it.”

But Hucker explained why he still backed the ban that has been imposed in the county since Dec. 10: “According to the data, since we closed indoor dining in Montgomery County, our cases associated with the restaurant workers still on their jobs are down 60%.”

Hucker spoke during a Zoom call in which he was joined by Dr. Raymond Crowel, director of the Montgomery County Health and Human Services Department.

Hucker and Crowel both said county health officials are taking a fresh look at the issue.

“How do we balance between the need for businesses to be open and for people to have an opportunity to engage in socially appropriate and socially distant activities and recreation, and keep these numbers going in the right direction?” asked Crowel.

Hucker added that the county has seen recent progress in the containing the spread of COVID-19.

“Following the peak in cases over the holiday season, Montgomery County is seeing this week the lowest seven-day average for cases since early December,” he added.

He also said, “The last two months have been the deadliest, and the average is still higher than in week of the spring, summer or fall of 2020.”

Hucker said an average of 32 of every 100,000 county residents are testing positive for COVID-19, and total cases as of Sunday were nearly 59,000, with 1,260 deaths so far.

The Restaurant Association of Maryland called on the county to lift its ban on indoor dining at restaurants last week.

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.

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