Drinking alcohol in Montgomery Co. parks no longer allowed

If you were thinking about having a beer in a Montgomery County, Maryland, park to celebrate the holiday weekend, you’ll want to think twice.

Parkgoers can no longer drink alcohol in those local parks starting Thursday.

The ending of Maryland’s State of Emergency means the chance to drink in local parks is over too.

Montgomery Parks, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has stopped allowing visitors to drink alcohol without a permit in 13 local parks.

The Picnic in the Park program started last fall to help local restaurants struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.

The program allowed visitors to bring their own drinks with them to the parks, but the goal was to have people order a picnic from local restaurants and pick it up on their way or have it delivered.

Montgomery Parks said that the program was successful in encouraging people to buy local and to stay safe.

“While the program was in effect, we had no reported alcohol-related incidents or calls for service in our 13 pilot parks and parks patrons enjoyed the ability to eat and drink outdoors with friends and family,” said Mike Riley, director of Montgomery Parks. “We were happy that parks were able to play a role in supporting local businesses and provide a safe outlet for social interaction.”

Montgomery Parks is still encouraging parkgoers to support local restaurants and picnic in the parks, visitors just have to save the wine, beer or cocktail for later.

Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk started working at WTOP in 2016 and has lived in Howard County, Maryland, her entire life. She's thrilled to be a reporter for WTOP telling stories on air. She works as both a television and radio reporter in the Maryland and D.C. areas. 

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