image from FOX 5 D.C.: social media post showing County Executive Marc Elrich violating COVID-19 rules
According to a recent report from WTTG Fox 5 DC, on July 11, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich was enjoying a day out in a group setting, watching a live band perform some of Bily Joel’s greatest hits. The event happened at the Brookville Beer Farm near Olney.
It was only the next day that County inspectors shut down the Society Restaurant and Lounge as well as The Republic Garden in downtown Silver Spring for what they cited as failure to abide by social distancing rules. The week before, the Palisades Lounge (also in downtown Silver Spring) was the first business to be closed by the County Government and for the same violation.
Elrich participated in an event that violated Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s Executive Order No. 20-06-10-01 (with amendment No. MDH 2020-06-12-01). The order states that live, outdoor performances are totally prohibited to the general public and can only be accomplished through virtual streaming or broadcasting. The Executive Order has been in effect since June 12.
The County Executive’s participation in the live performance is a clear violation of a COVID-19 directive and shows the confusion in understanding the regulations that some thought were only being violated by unscrupulous businesses.
The owners of Society and Republic Garden said that the day they were shutdown was the first time the County inspectors showed up. They also noted that they were never consulted by County “Business Ambassadors”, part of program initiated by Elrich to help businesses transition to the reopening phase.
According to Fox 5 DC, County official’s said they notified the Brookville Beer Farm stating“they could no longer have live performances.” but the facility was not closed or fined. Meanwhile The Republic Garden received another citation from the County Government and was closed down July 26. The suspension will last for at least 30 days.
Fox 5 DC also noted a recent article by the Montgomery Business Scene, where owners of the three closed business — that are also Black-owned — stated they feel targeted by the County Government because they were the only businesses that received the maximum penalty and without warning unlike several other businesses.