Friday, May 29, 2020

Hogan extends moratorium on utility shutoffs, allows breweries to serve in outdoor seating

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan issued two coronavirus-related executive orders this morning. First, he has extended the moratorium on utility shutoffs - including internet and phone service - until July 1, 2020. Secondly, he is allowing state-licensed breweries, wineries and distilleries to begin serving customers on-premises in outdoor seating only. Hogan's order also allows third-party shipment of alcoholic beverages to consumers.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Mass layoffs at Bed Bath & Beyond in Rockville

The fallout of coronavirus continues to crash down around Montgomery County, whose leaders were criticized by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Wednesday for not having begun to reopen. Bed Bath & Beyond at 1519 Rockville Pike has announced it will lay off 95 employees. Most of the chain's stores are expected to remain closed at least through May 30, the company has said.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Proposal to demolish historic Rockville home postponed at Historic District Commission

A review of a controversial proposal to demolish an historic home at 725 N. Horners Lane in Rockville has been "postponed until further notice" by the city's Historic District Commission. City staff had determined the home, which has importance to African-American history in Rockville and Lincoln Park, met several criteria for historic designation. The reason for the postponement was not discussed at the HDC's monthly meeting, but Chair Matthew Goguen said he anticipated the issue would return for review "at a later date."

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Don't push the button!

Signs around Rockville Town Square warn pedestrians, "Don't push the button!" Walk signals are now programmed to activate automatically without having to press the button. The change is in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to provide "contactless crossing" of streets.

Launch Trampoline Park for sale in Rockville

Launch Trampoline Park in Randolph Hills is for sale, according to an online listing. The asking price is nearly $2 million. Under "reason for selling," the listing states, "Timing wrong and not the business for the investors." Speaking of wrong timing, coronavirus is now here, and a business like this will have to make significant adjustments to its operations for at least the next couple of years. The listing acknowledges that the financial numbers it provides do not take the impact of Covid-19 into account.

Friday, May 22, 2020

Coronavirus test now available at CVS Pharmacy on Rockville Pike

Starting this morning, you can be tested for Covid-19 at the CVS Pharmacy at 799 Rockville Pike, which is located in the Ritchie Center. To get your test, register first at

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Did Montgomery County really add 500 hospital beds for coronavirus patients?

A week after declaring surge 
capacity met, County now says 
there aren't enough beds to
reopen Montgomery County

Montgomery County officials attempted to address growing concerns over their lack of defined strategy for ending the coronavirus lockdown yesterday. In a streamed Zoom meeting, County Executive Marc Elrich said he thought the current statistics might point toward reopening the county in one or two weeks. But one number that Health Director Travis Gayles expressed concern about was ICU hospital bed capacity, and that four of the county's hospitals were at-capacity for ICU beds over the last week. This would make it difficult to handle a surge in new patients if a new wave of Covid-19 infections were to break out a few weeks after the Stay-at-Home order would be lifted.

Now, you may remember the county was 500 beds short of the projected need when the coronavirus pandemic began. On April 1, with great fanfare from their friends in the local media, the Montgomery County Council declared it was appropriating $10 million for county hospitals to add those 500 beds. Keep in mind, this is several hospitals' worth of beds.

To those more skeptical than our local press, this sounded like a hefty degree of magical thinking. If you know anything about construction, the regulatory hoops alone would have tied such expansion up for months. Permits would have to be processed, construction work would have to pass inspection. Not to mention that the work would have to be put out for bid, contractors selected, etc. The very expensive beds themselves - and all related equipment that is needed for each bed, particularly in an ICU setting - have to be ordered and shipped.

Just last week, Gayles told Bethesda Magazine in an email that - incredibly - this David Copperfield act had been magically pulled off. In only 41 days, Gayles wrote, Montgomery County hospitals had added all 500 beds. Interestingly, with all of the news cameras hanging out at local hospitals these days, we never saw footage of these new rooms or wings being opened on the TV news.

Ten days ago, we were told we had enough beds to handle a coronavirus surge. Yesterday, still under lockdown before any such surge has even taken place, we were told that a lack of bed capacity is now a primary reason the County cannot reopen its economy.

Something doesn't add up here.

Photo courtesy Hill-Rom