- The Washington Times - Friday, July 3, 2020

Montgomery County, Maryland, will begin reopening its public pools and libraries starting Monday, pushing ahead with its phased reopening plans, unlike other parts of the country that are backtracking as they see more coronavirus cases.

The county’s seven outdoor pools and three of its indoor pools will open to pass holders only. Outdoor pools will be open for two-hour sessions of recreational swimming between noon and 8 p.m. every day. Indoor pools will be used for lap swimming only for two-hour sessions between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the weekends. A reservation is required for all swim sessions.

Meanwhile, the county’s libraries which have been shut down since March because of the coronavirus, will start contactless pickup on Monday. Library customers can reserve items online or can call a branch and will receive an email with instructions for pickup.

Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena also will reopen for individual athletic training, while indoor tennis centers at Wheaton and Cabin John regional parks will reopen with limited hours. The Wheaton Sports Pavilion will reopen for futsal, soccer and lacrosse.

The county began opening its playgrounds this week, but officials noted it may take up to 14 days to reopen all 276 of them as they take away the orange fencing that has surrounded the playground equipment since March. The county recommends park visitors bring wipes and hand sanitizer.

Montgomery Parks is also now issuing permits for youth practice at local park athletic fields. The Seneca Lodge and Rockwood Manor event centers are accepting reservations for small bookings as well.

Unlike many parts of the U.S. that have seen an uptick in cases and are reversing course on reopening plans, Maryland’s most populous county has reported a decline in new COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations for about two weeks.

The county of about 1 million residents has recorded about 15,000 coronavirus infections and 700 deaths as of Friday, according to the Maryland Department of Health. Across Maryland, nearly 69,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 and more than 3,000 have died. The two Washington suburbs of Montgomery and neighboring Prince George’s County account for about half of all the state’s cases and deaths.

The coronavirus has sickened more than 2.7 million people in the U.S. and killed more than 128,000. About 782,000 people have recovered, a tally from Johns Hopkins University shows.

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