MoCo allowing more faithful into services

Distance praying at Congregation Har Shalom in Potomac.
Photo by David Stuck

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich last week issued an updated executive order that loosened safety restrictions and allowed more people to attend religious gatherings than previously. Elrich issued the order after consultation with County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles. The county council approved the order.

Since the order went into effect on Sept. 22, “houses of worship can determine gathering size by dividing the total square footage of the worship space by 50, with a maximum of 40% of permitted occupancy,” DCist reported.

Previously, synagogues and other houses of worship in Montgomery County were required to allow 200 square feet of religious ceremony space for each participant.

The amended order also includes a new exception to the face covering mandate for children under the age of 18 while playing sports as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The updated executive order:

  • Explicitly caps indoor food service at 50 percent;
  • Changes gathering size calculations and spacing, screening, and cleaning requirements for religious facilities;
  • Modifies the definition of face covering to remove plastic full face shields; and
  • Includes a face covering exception for children under 18 while playing sports.


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