Working together, the Hogan Administration and legislative leaders have announced major actions intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 including:
- Issuing a shelter in place order effective at 8pm on March 30;
- Closing all public schools from March 16-April 24, during which they will be cleaned and sanitized;
- Closing all non-essential businesses restaurants, bars, movie theaters, gyms, etc. at 5pm on March 23. Here are some of the businesses that do not have to close:
- Restaurants (take-out/delivery/drive through only);
- Grocery stores;
- Liquor stores;
- Pet stores; and
- Public utilties.
- Food courts and food trucks do not have to close – but must maintain “carry-out” only;
- Private clubs are included in “restaurants, bars, theaters, etc.” and must close;
- Barber shops/hair salons/spas are NOT required to close for one-on-one services in a private setting;
- Prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people;
- Postponing the April 28 Primary Election to June 2 (more details to come);
- You can request an absentee ballot online through the State Board of Elections for the June 2020 Primary (7th Congressional District special election will be vote-by-mail — April 28);
- Essential workers looking for child care can call a hotline at 1-877-261-0060.
- 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.
- Establishing the COVID-19 Layoff Aversion Fund;
- Providing the Maryland COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund Programs for Businesses;
- Advising hospitals to limit visitors;
- Giving licensed health professionals from another state the authority to practice in Maryland;
- Mandating non-essential State employees to telework;
- Forcing all utility, phone, cable, etc. companies to waive late fees for payments due during this time;
- Announcing that no eviction notices will be posted during the social distancing period;
- Prohibiting lenders from initiating foreclosures on mortgages;
- Contact your financial service provider for a 90 day deferral with no negative impact on your credit history;
- Cancel any debt collection activities by State agencies during the State of emergency;
- Limiting access to State Parks;
- Repurposing all Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program sites into drive-thru testing facilities to prepare for when additional tests become available;
- Reducing public transit options and utilizing cashless tolling;
- Limiting cruise ship operations at the Port of Baltimore;
- Activating the National Guard to carry out any necessary emergency functions;
- Suspending all visits to correctional facilities; and
- Operating under a State of Emergency.
Although some of these provisions may seem extreme, they are essential to the efforts to contain this virus. In addition to enhanced attention to personal hygiene, we must endeavor to reduce potential person-to-person transmission long enough to dramatically slow new cases of the virus.
If you feel ill and need a test, you should contact your health care provider by phone. They will guide you through the process. Additional information can be found on the Maryland Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions about Testing.
You can access my Coronavirus Frequently Asked Questions page here.
While schools and many businesses are closed as we combat the virus, you can find which Montgomery County public buildings and services are available.
Alcoholics Anonymous: Meetings are being conducted virtually. Here is a list of numbers you can call for different group meetings.
Mental Health: 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.
Suicide Prevention: As we practice social distancing to stop the spread, we must also remember to reach out to our friends and family. Take advantage of this time to call someone you care about. You can find additional information on ways to help during the pandemic at Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Special Open Enrollment Period: In response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, our state’s health insurance marketplace, will hold a special open enrollment period from March 16-June 15. Maryland residents without health insurance can sign-up and get covered.
Reduced WMATA Services: In order to keep passengers safe, Metro has reduce the frequency of its train and bus services. This may impact Maryland commuters who are unable to telework.
Business Resources: There is a collection of information available here if you own a business and need assistance as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Donating Blood: We are currently experiencing a blood shortage in the wake of “social distancing.” If you are healthy and willing to donate, please consider signing up for an appointment.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse while stuck at home, you can search for the closest rape crisis center or find information from the Montgomery County Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program.
My office will be operating with very limited staff for the foreseeable future. Please be patient in the upcoming weeks, as it may take longer than usual to return your calls and emails. My staff and I appreciate your understanding during these unpredictable times. We will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible. I take my responsibilities as your Senator very seriously. I have confidence that we will get through this episode together and that our lives will return to normal before too long.
Reliable resources for information and updates regarding COVID-19:
- Center for Disease Control
- Maryland Department of Health
- Montgomery County Public Schools
Resources for children at home:
- 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
Last updated April 3, 2020