State & County Place More Restrictions to Deal with Coronavirus

-photo courtesy of CDC-

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced that all restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms will be shut down on Monday starting at 5 p.m. Events with over 10 people will not be permitted too.

On the county level, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced a series of new efforts to further expand Baltimore County’s coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to promote social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus.

Olszewski issued an executive order prohibiting gatherings or events of 50 or more people at all locations and venues, providing local officials and law enforcement with the authority to enforce the limit. The order was part into place for Wednesday but that rule will change to Monday after Hogan announced the limitations of crowds 50 starting on Monday at 5 p.m.

This order also grants the Health Officer the authority to further reduce this number and to adopt additional rules or regulations governing places of public or social gathering as needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health and safety.

Extension of Licenses and Permits

Olszewski issued an executive order providing an extension of all County licenses, permits, registrations and other authorizations until 30 days following the end of the local state of emergency. The order also authorizes the head of each government agency to suspend the effect of any legal or procedural deadline, due date, time of default, time expiration, period of time or other statute, rule or regulation that it administers. This applies to suspensions concerning payments of late fees owed to Baltimore County. In addition, the order cancels or postpones all non-essential meetings of public boards, commissions or committees, and prohibits members of the public from attending those meetings deemed essential. Members of the public will be provided a way to participate in or observe all essential meetings. Guidance will be provided on a case-by-case basis.

Evictions Suspended

At the County Executive’s request, Sheriff R. Jay Fisher has agreed to suspend all evictions for the duration of the state of emergency in the County.

County Government Building Restrictions

County office buildings remain open at this time, but the County is instituting steps to limit public access. Permit requests and all other meetings with County department staff will be by appointment only as of Wednesday, March 18. All meetings and appointments currently scheduled with County departments or staff are cancelled unless individuals are otherwise notified. Instructions for scheduling appointments with County departments will be available in the next several days and posted to the County’s website. Until such time, members of the public will be restricted from entering County buildings. Visitors and those requesting appointments will be screened for illness prior to gaining access to County buildings.

“In the midst of this public health crisis, we must act decisively to ensure the health, safety and well-being of the public,” Olszewski said. “This situation continues to evolve rapidly and we remain committed to taking whatever action necessary to promote social distancing, limit the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.”

Other Protective Measures

County Executive Olszewski previously issued an Emergency Declaration to address COVID-19, and the County has taken the following actions to protect employees and members of the public and minimize the spread of COVID-19.

Baltimore County Health Department Hotline

The Baltimore County Department of Health has a hotline for residents to call with questions or concerns about COVID-19: the number is 410-887-3816. The hotline is open seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Library and Senior Center Closings

Baltimore County Public Libraries Closed: All Baltimore County Public Library branch locations are closed from Monday, March 16, through Sunday, March 29.

Baltimore County Senior Centers Closed: All Baltimore County Senior Centers will be closed to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, until further notice. Seniors can call the Maryland Access Point hotline at 410-887-2594. Calls are answered by a team of Certified Information and Assistance Specialists, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Water Shutoffs Halted

County Executive Olszewski and Mayor Young announced that neither municipality will turn off water service for failure to pay.

Department of Recreation and Parks

Buildings Closed: All Department of Recreation and Parks buildings are closed to the public effective Saturday, March 14, until further notice. County parks remain open to the public.

Department of Recreation and Parks Providing Meals: Beginning Tuesday, March 17, the Department of Recreation and Parks will be offering limited meal distribution to children 18 and under through the Maryland Food Bank and Healthy Food Access St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. The Department will offer the take-away meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. There is a limited number of meals available and they will be distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis at the following locations:
•Arbutus Community Center: 865 Sulphur Spring Rd, Halethorpe, Maryland 21227
•Dundalk PAL Center: 15 Commerce Place, Dundalk, Maryland 21222
•Cockeysville PAL Center: 9836 Greenside Drive, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030
•Hillendale PAL Center: 1111 Halstead Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21234
•Mars Estates PAL Center: 1498 East Homberg Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21221
•Scotts Branch PAL Center: 3651 Rolling Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21244
•Shady Spring PAL Center: 8876 Goldenwood Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21237
•Winfield PAL Center: 8304 Carlson Lane, Baltimore, Maryland 21244
•Woodmoor PAL Center: 7111 Croydon Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21207

CCBC Classes Canceled

All in-person CCBC classes are canceled Monday, March 16 through Friday, March 22, and will resume remotely via alternative teaching methods starting Monday, March 23. Online classes will continue to be held as scheduled.

County Employees

Non-Essential Employee Telework: Baltimore County has instituted telework for all non-essential employees who are able to do so.

Suspension of County Travel: Suspending all County government-related travel through April 30.