ROCKVILLE, Md. (WJZ) — Montgomery County will end its indoor mask mandate Thursday after seven days of only “moderate” COVID-19 transmission, County Executive Marc Elrich said.

The county has the lowest case rate in the state at 6.4 cases per 100,000 residents and has met the CDC’s criteria for “moderate” transmission since last Thursday, Elrich said.

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Montgomery County reported 67 new cases, three hospitalizations and one death on Tuesday, he said.

Businesses and organizations can still set their own mask guidelines.

“I want to remind people that any business or entity that serves the public can still require indoor masking if they wish, and they have the right to refuse entry or service for lack of compliances,” Elrich said. “Businesses are also free to require vaccines for entry.”

Masking is still required on buses and in schools, Elrich said.

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The county executive still urged residents to take the proper precautions against COVID-19 even after the indoor mask mandate expires.

“No matter what the health regulations say, especially for those who are unvaccinated, you should still take the most cautious path you can,” he said. “Remember, though the mask mandate is lifted, we’re still seeing more than 50 cases in some days.”

According to CDC data, 91% of Montgomery County residents age 12 and older are fully vaccinated and 99.9% of people in that age range have received at least one dose.

The county is preparing to vaccinate children ages 5-11 once they become eligible, and county health officials expect an initial distribution of 13,000 doses, Elrich said.

The county executive received a Moderna booster shot on Monday after originally receiving a single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. He said he experienced a little arm soreness but no other side effects.

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“I’m glad to have the extra protection,” Elrich said. “I encourage everyone who’s currently eligible to receive a booster to please go out and get one.”

CBS Baltimore Staff