Q: Where can we go to get tested for COVID-19?
A: Your health professional is the only person allowed to approve you to be tested. If you are feeling symptomatic, you should contact (not visit) your healthcare provider. They will determine if you meet the criteria for testing.
Q: What should we do if we have other health appointments/needs during this time?
A: Check to see if your doctor or health professional is using Telehealth practices in an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. My emergency telehealth bill makes it even easier in the future for doctors and health care providers to reach you. Telehealth allows patients to stay out of the emergency room, and keeps health care providers safe.
Q: What if I can’t pay my rent?
A: Landlords are prohibited by law to issue eviction notices during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. If you are having trouble paying your rent, the Montgomery County Office of Landlord-Tenant Affairs suggests that you reach out to your landlord to discuss possible payment plans. You can refer to the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) website to learn more about your rights as a tenet during the COVID-19 crisis.
Q: What if my business was forced to close?
A: The Maryland Department of Commerce has announced three COVID-19 emergency relief fund programs aimed to help small businesses and nonprofits. These programs include:
- The MD Small Business (and Nonprofit!!!) COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund— allocates $50 million in grants;
- The MD Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Loan Fund— provides $75 million in subsidized loans for businesses; and
- The MD COVID-19 Emergency Relief Manufacturing Fund— a $5 million incentive program to help our manufacturers produce protective equipment (like face masks) urgently needed by health care workers.
Q: What resources are available to nonprofits?
A: There are a number of resources for nonprofits. Here are a few, but for a complete list, visit the “Nonprofits Resources” section of my Coronavirus Updates page.
- For those who are experiencing budgetary restraints as a result of the COVID-19 response, there are resources for you. The Nonprofit, Interest-Free, Micro Bridge Loan Account (NIMBL) provides short-term financing to support nonprofits who have qualified for a government grant but are waiting to receive the designated funds. Through this program, you can receive loans up to $25,000 to help with administrative expenditures.
- The Maryland Department of Commerce has announced the Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund, which awards up to $10,000 for small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. These funds can be used to help cover operating costs such as payroll, rent, and utility bills. Recipients should seek long-term assistance through their bank, the Small Business Administration, or other resources.
- Nonprofits can also receive support from the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).
Q: How long will social distancing be in effect?
A: We do not know how long Marylanders will have to stay home. The CDC is now recommending wearing a face covering anytime you leave the house, along with practicing social distancing. These precautions allow us to reduce the number of infected individuals and the strain on our medical system.
Q: What is considered to be an “essential business?”
A: The list of essential businesses that continue to operate can be found here.
Q: When will children go back to school?
A: It was announced on Wednesday, March 25 that schools will be closed for an additional 4 weeks (until April 24). Here are some helpful links while at home:
- Montgomery County Public Schools
- Maryland State Department of Education
- Brain Pop
- Discovery Education
- Go Noodle – Physical activities for being indoors
- Kiddle – Kids version of Google
- Virtual Museum Tours – Article from Travel and Leisure can also be found here
- Khan Academy Math
- PBS Kids
- Nat Geo Kids
- Time Magazine Kids
- Virtual College Tours – For those who had to cancel their college visits
- Code Academy – Learn to Code for free!
- Mystery Science
- Story Online
- National Gallery of Art Kids Zone
Q: What if I don’t have health insurance?
A: You are now able to sign up for health insurance through the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange during the current special enrollment period (through April 15th). All health insurance costs associated with testing must be waived by insurers.
Q: What are “Senior Hours” at grocery stores?
A: Here is a list of hours for “high-risk” persons at all local grocery stores in Montgomery County. “The CDC identifies “high-risk” individuals as:
- Anyone over the age of 60;
- People who are in an assisted living facility;
- Individuals with a compromised immune or respiratory system; or
- Pregnant women.
Q: How can I help others in need?
A: You can help others by giving to Manna, our local food pantry, donating blood through the Red Cross, and supporting nonprofit organizations. Small businesses also need our support, so consider shopping online or ordering take-out meals from a local restaurant. If you don’t want to go out, consider buying a gift card, so the business has needed revenue and you can go out when the virus has subsided.
Q: When will the Presidential Primary election be held? What if I still don’t think I will feel comfortable going out and voting?
A: Governor Hogan announced that the Presidential Primary will be moved to June 2. You can request an absentee ballot (now to be named “mail-in” ballot) now. IF Governor Hogan signs my emergency bill to pay all mail-in ballot postage going forward, you won’t need to run to the post office to hunt down a stamp!
Q: Where can I get gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer?
A: Gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer are being sold at local retailers and online, though quantities may be limited. Please only purchase them if you are an “at risk” individual, as these protective supplies are desperately needed for medical personnel. The best way to stay safe is to avoid leaving your home.
Q: I am “essential personnel” and still have to work. Where can I find child care?
A: Essential personnel can access free child care referrals by calling 877/261-0060. All child care facilities have been ordered to close on 3/27 at 5pm. They can reopen if they prove that they serve only “essential personnel” and have done a thorough cleaning.
Q: What resources are available to those who need to take care of their mental health?
A: It is important that you practice self care during these challenging times. Healthline provides tips to take care of your mental well-being during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Q: Can I go outside during the stay-at-home order to take a walk or exercise?
A: Yes, you can go outside to take a walk, exercise, and walk your dog. You must still observe social distancing guidelines. It is recommended that you go out by yourself or only with individuals you live with.
Q: I have personal protective equipment and want to help. Where do I look?
A: Montgomery County is currently looking for donations. You can find information through their website here.
Q: What do I do if my banks said that they would not give me an SBA loan?
A: If you are having trouble finding a lender, you can email Michael Collins from the Small Business Administration at firstname.lastname@example.org to get help finding one!
Last updated April 8, 2020