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COVID-19 Coronavirus Updates and Guidance

The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Date: Apr 2020

Look Out for Ballots Arriving via US Postal Service

The Maryland State Board of Elections is urging all Maryland voters to be on the lookout for mail-in ballots for the June 2 Presidential Primary election. Mail-in ballots could begin arriving in mailboxes this week. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the June 2 Primary will be conducted by mail, with limited options to vote in person on Election Day.

“We are asking all Maryland voters to be on the lookout for their mail-in ballot for the June 2 Primary election and to vote by mail if possible,” said Linda Lamone, Maryland Administrator of Elections. “Voting by mail is safe, secure and free. There is no postage required. Voters simply need to fill out their ballot, sign the oath on the envelope and place it back in the mail.”

The Maryland State Board of Elections is committed to educating voters on the changes made to election procedures due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. These changes have been made to ensure voters can exercise their fundamental right to vote while also safeguarding the public’s health during this pandemic.

The June 2 Presidential Primary election will be conducted by mail, with up to four, in-person voting locations in each County and Baltimore City for those who are unable to vote by mail.

More Information

To learn more or for a list of voting locations, visit the State Board of Elections website or call 1-800-222-8683. 


Chief of Bureau of Engineering and Construction Thomas Kiefer Named Acting Director

Baltimore County Director of Department of Public Works Steve Walsh announced today that he will retire from Baltimore County government, effective May 22.

“Steve has been a steady hand, a thoughtful leader, and invaluable partner in our work to build a better Baltimore County,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “On behalf of the people of Baltimore County, I extend my gratitude for his decades of dedicated service and I wish him and his entire family the best in his well-deserved retirement from County service.”

“It has been a privilege to serve the citizens of Baltimore County for more than 30 years,” Director Walsh said. “The hardworking people of this department have inspired me every single day and I’m confident that the department will continue to provide services for the residents of Baltimore County in the years to come.”

Mr. Walsh first joined Baltimore County government in 1990 as a water resources engineer and worked his way through the ranks of the Department of Public Works culminating in his appointment as Director in 2016.

With Director Walsh’s retirement, County Executive Olszewski has appointed Thomas Kiefer, Chief of the Bureau of Engineering and Construction, to serve as Acting Director, effective May 22, while a search for a permanent replacement is conducted.

Mr. Kiefer first came to Baltimore County as an engineer in the Bureau of Utilities in 2006 tasked with helping lead the County’s modernization of the sanitary sewer infrastructure. He advanced to the Chief of the Bureau of Utilities in 2012 and was later selected as the Chief of the Bureau of Engineering and Construction in 2016. Kiefer is the first person in County history to have been Chief of both Bureaus of Utilities and Engineering and Construction.

He has over 40 years of design, construction and operations experience and, prior to joining Baltimore County government, worked for a local engineering consulting firm as well as a global engineering construction company. Kiefer holds a Bachelor’s degree from Virginia Tech, an MBA from Wilmington College, and is a licensed Professional Engineer in Maryland and Delaware.

As Acting Director of the Department of Public Works, Mr. Kiefer will be responsible for technical management and oversight of 957 employees and a $400 million operating budget with five main business units including Highways, Utilities, Engineering and Construction, Solid Waste Management, and Transportation.

“Tom is eminently qualified to provide steady leadership through this transition and I’m confident that he will help as Baltimore County begins the long road to recovery,” Olszewski said. “During his years of service, he has been involved in every aspect of management, and he has gained the respect of those in the department and across County government.”


Commits More Than $10 Million in Grants to Protect Jobs, Small Businesses and Artists; CCBC to Launch Online Contact Trace Investigator Training Program

County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a series of economic relief efforts to support small businesses and individuals impacted by the severe financial pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic: 

  • Baltimore County announces $10 million in new grant funding for small businesses
  • County offers $100,000 in grants to assist professional artists, musicians and performers  
  • Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) to launch online contact trace investigator training program  

Baltimore County Announces $10 Million in New Grant Funding For Small Businesses 

To support Baltimore County’s small businesses, Olszewski announced the County has allocated $10 million in new grant funding for the Baltimore County COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants Program. 

“Small businesses are a critical link of our county’s economy, and we must do all that we can to support them in meeting their basic needs during this crisis,” said County Executive Olszewski. “As we move toward economic recovery, these grants will provide a critical bridge to Baltimore County small businesses who have not received other forms of assistance.” 

The Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) will administer the Baltimore County COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grants Program, which will award grants of up to $15,000 each to more than 650 Baltimore County-based small businesses on a first-come, first-served basis. 

The County has set a goal to award at least 25 percent of grant funding to women and minority-owned businesses. 

The County will fund these small business relief grants through the Economic Development Revolving Financing Fund, and intends to pursue emergency disaster reimbursement from the federal government.  

Grant Criteria, Application and Terms   

Grant applications will be posted on the DEWD website and will be accepted beginning May 11, 2020. To qualify for this grant program, small businesses must retain at least half of the workforce they had prior to January 31, 2020, which must have included at least two non-owner employees prior to Maryland’s Stay-at-Home Order. They must also: 

  • have at least two employees who are not owners or part-owners,
  • have no more than 25 employees per Baltimore County establishment,
  • demonstrate that they have lost at least 40 percent of their revenues since the Stay-at-Home Order began,
  • have been in operation for at least one year as of January 1, 2020, and commenced operations by December 31, 2018 or earlier, and
  • certify that they have not received other forms of federal or state COVID-19 assistance or relief at the time of application, and
  • be in good standing and not in default with the State of Maryland and Baltimore County.

Grant funds may only be used for payroll, operating expenses, business lease or rent, and inventory acquisition vital to the business, with at least 30 percent of the funds used to support payroll for non-owners. Funds may not be used for capital improvements or personal expenses, and if a business fails to reopen, all grant funds must be returned to the County within 14 days.

For more information, please visit baltimorecountybusiness.com or email COVIDbizrelief@baltimorecountymd.gov.

County Offers Grants to Assist Professional Artists, Musicians and Performers  

As part of his commitment to the local arts community, County Executive Olszewski is making available $100,000 to provide $1,000 stipends for up to 100 artists to help them recoup some of their financial losses due to the pandemic.

Grants will be available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted, and priority will be given to lower income artists, making $37,500 or less per year. Applicants will submit a streamlined application, document their artistic portfolio, and must be adult Baltimore County residents over the age of 18. The application process will open on May 11, 2020 and details will be available on the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences web page

Once approved, artists may use these grants for a number of purposes, including recouping losses from canceled performances and events, art-related travel expenses, lost teaching opportunities and loss of supplemental income for artists working in the service industry. 

Informational Resources for Businesses 

The Department of Economic and Workforce Development (DEWD) has complied an overview of resources and assistance available to affected employers and employees. This information is available on the Department’s website, baltimorecountybusiness.com

CCBC to Launch Online Contact Trace Investigator Training Program  

 In addition, Olszewski announced a partnership with the Community College of Baltimore County to launch a training program for contact trace investigators. 

Federal and state guidelines have indicated that significant contact tracing capacity will be a critical component of any efforts to reopen businesses and other institutions, and the training course will allow individuals to become proficient in this field as those jobs begin to become available. 

“At CCBC, we take pride in our ability to develop short-term training that can quickly prepare people for in-demand jobs,” said CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis. “We are happy to participate in this partnership which will help secure the health and safety of our community as well as generate a pool of specially-trained candidates for new employment opportunities.” 

The primary training component will be an online course that is free to participants and consists of three training modules. Participants will be required to register and will work at their own pace, but the course could be completed in as little as three hours. Individuals who complete the course will still be required to complete any other training requirements set forth by an entity that hires them. 

Baltimore County’s Department of Health and Human Services anticipates a need to hire 60 additional contact trace investigators by July 2020 to fill temporary positions.

In Baltimore County, those positions will require at least an associate degree as well as proven experience in customer service, strong communication skills, and knowledge of community resources. The County will also seek to fill a number of the positions with individuals who speak both English and Spanish. 

Currently, the County has 52 staff members performing contact tracing—most of whom were shifted to their roles from other positions within the Health Department or from Baltimore County Public School Health Services. 

For additional information on the training course, visit CCBC's website.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017