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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

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Date: Jul 21, 2020

Baltimore County Requires Face Coverings in Indoor Spaces, Calls on Governor Hogan to Revisit Indoor Dining and Bars Statewide

As jurisdictions in Maryland and across the country see increasing COVID-19 cases, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski announced today that Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch has issued a new public health order requiring all individuals ages 2 and over to wear face coverings in all indoor public spaces, and also strongly encouraging residents to wear face coverings in outdoor public spaces wherever six-foot social distancing is not possible.

This new public health advisory supplements existing state orders (PDF), which currently require residents to wear masks in some indoor locations.

“The advice of scientific experts is clear: face coverings work. This commonsense step will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “I want to thank our neighbors and businesses who continue to take the necessary steps to keep our loved ones safe. We must all do our part, or we risk jeopardizing the progress we’ve made together.”

Despite current prevention measures, Baltimore County is experiencing the highest seven-day average of 97 community cases per day—exceeding the previous peak of 94 cases per day over a seven-day period in May. Meanwhile, Baltimore County’s positivity rate has increased since July 7 to 5.92 percent, demonstrating continued community transmission of COVID-19. On Sunday, Maryland saw the largest number of cases reported in a single day in nearly two months.

CDC guidance has demonstrated the effectiveness of face coverings in preventing transmission of COVID-19 by symptomatic, pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals. The suppression of COVID-19 will be critical in supporting future school reopening, continuing Baltimore County’s economic recovery, and safeguarding public safety.

“Our fight against this virus is not over. Without a vaccine or a cure we must continue to follow the science and the evidence which shows that face coverings—paired with social distancing and avoiding large gatherings—can slow the spread of this disease,” said Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “Our data is beginning to show initial troubling signs. To keep us from losing ground, we must act now.”

Face Covering Requirements

Beginning Thursday, July 23 at 9 a.m., Baltimore County residents ages 2 and up will be required to wear face coverings in any indoor business, service, organization, or establishment that serves the general public. This includes, but is not limited to, retail establishments, recreational establishments, houses of worship, and other locations open to the public.

Residents are strongly encouraged to wear masks in outdoor public areas where social distancing of at least six-feet is not possible.

Individuals will not be required to wear a mask if:

  • Eating or drinking while seated at food service establishments. In accordance with Governor Hogan’s orders, face coverings are still required when otherwise moving in or about a restaurant or bar premises.
  • A face covering cannot be worn due to a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability.

County to Swiftly Act to Protect Health

Additionally, under the order issued today, the Baltimore County Health Officer may also issue a warning, modify operations, or immediately shut down any business or place of assembly that presents an immediate threat to public health or demonstrates unreasonable risk of exacerbating the spread of COVID-19.

“We’ve focused on education before enforcement with our business community, because we understand how hard they have been hit by this pandemic. While the vast majority are doing their part, we will do whatever is necessary to protect the health and safety of our people,” Olszewski added.

Olszewski Calls on Hogan to Reconsider Indoor Dining

Following nationwide COVID-19 spikes, over a dozen other states or localities have taken steps to re-close bars and restaurants. County officials noted that, similar to statewide trends, young people now account for the majority of cases. Over the past three days, 53 percent of Baltimore County cases are residents under the age of 35.

County Executive Olszewski today called on Governor Hogan to limit bars and food service establishments to outdoor dining and takeout or delivery service.

“Maryland’s increasing case numbers are troubling and public health officials have consistently warned us about how indoor dining and congregating in bars can play a significant role of increased COVID-19 case counts. We have also seen that patchwork approaches to determining which businesses should be opened don’t work. I urge Governor Hogan to reengage with local leaders so that we can work in partnership to take statewide action to protect public health and save lives.”


Funds Include Generous $285,000 Donation from BGE to Support Current and Future Response to Pandemic

Baltimore County and the Baltimore Community Foundation today announced that 50 local community-based organizations have received grants totaling $400,000 from the Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund in a collaborative effort to promote public health and support the County’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“County government is working around the clock to respond to this crisis, but we know even more needs to be done. We’re so thankful for partners like BGE, Tradepoint Atlantic, the Weinberg Foundation and all our generous donors for recognizing that we are in this together,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “Baltimore County is home to so many dedicated community organizations and we’re proud to support the invaluable services they provide to our neighbors during this trying time.”

Since its establishment on March 31, the Emergency Response Fund, which is managed by the Baltimore Community Foundation, has raised more than $500,000 from more than 150 individual, private sector, and philanthropic donors, including Tradepoint Atlantic, the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, the David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation, the Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation and Chesapeake Realty Partners.

“BCF partners with many concerned donors and community-based organizations in Baltimore County as part of our regional focus,” said Shanaysha M. Sauls, President and CEO of Baltimore Community Foundation. “We are honored to work with County Executive Olszewski's administration to steward generous individual, corporate and philanthropic dollars and ensure they reach high-impact organizations in hard-hit communities.”

Baltimore County today also announced that BGE has made a $285,000 contribution to the Emergency Response Fund to support existing and future efforts. $185,000 in BGE funds will support grantees announced today while $100,000 in future funding has been reserved to enhance the County’s response to supporting reopening of County small businesses.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, BGE has endeavored to balance two important commitments to our residential and business customers and the communities we serve: provide relief from COVID-19-related economic hardship and continue to invest in the critical electric and natural gas infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable access to energy,” said Rodney Oddoye, BGE’s senior vice president of governmental and external affairs. “It is our hope that BGE’s contribution to the Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund will reach organizations that are vulnerable during a crisis and help them navigate this challenging period.”

Fifty County-Based Organizations Awarded Grants

In May, Baltimore County made grants available to organizations assisting those affected by COVID-19 in Baltimore County communities. Today the County announced that grant awards ranging from $3,000 to $11,300 were granted to 50 County-based organizations.

Funding will be used to support a diverse range of community efforts, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE), COVID safeguards for reopening, support for food distribution, virtual counseling services, rental assistance, educational supplies for youth, technology to address the digital divide, and assistance for veterans, first responders and their families.

A full list of the Baltimore County Emergency Response Fund awardees announced today is below:

  • AfriThrive Inc
  • Agape Christian Church
  • Arc Baltimore
  • Aspen Day Treatment
  • Baltimore Association of Nepalese in America INC
  • Baltimore Job Hunters Support Group (BJHSG)
  • Bas Melech Performing Arts Center Inc
  • Board of Child Care
  • CASA of Baltimore County, Inc.
  • Cavanaugh House
  • CHANA - A Program of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore
  • Chase Brexton Health Services, Inc.
  • Chesapeake Bay Memories Charities Inc.
  • Children's Home, Inc.
  • Community Crisis Center, Inc.
  • Congregation Ariel Russian Community Synagogue, Inc.
  • Covenant Guild, Inc.
  • Diversified Housing Development, Inc.
  • FreeState Justice
  • Friendship Circle of Baltimore
  • From One Fan To Another Inc.
  • HACSI Hindu American Community Service Inc.
  • Hall at North Point Edgemere
  • Heaven on Earth NOW
  • Holistically Empowered Youth, Inc.
  • Humane Society of Baltimore County
  • Improving Education Inc.
  • Islamic Society of Baltimore
  • Jacksonville Senior Center Council
  • Jewish Uniformed Service Association of Maryland
  • KEYS Empowers, Inc.
  • Lake Roland Nature Council
  • Life Builders Church
  • Linwood Center
  • MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center
  • Morning Star Baptist Church of Baltimore County
  • NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore
  • No More Stolen Childhoods
  • One Love Foundation in Honor of Yeardley Love
  • Oregon Ridge Nature Center Council
  • Penn-Mar Human Services
  • Randallstown Mount Olive United Methodist Church
  • Research and Counseling Foundation for African Migrants (RECFAM)
  • Set The Captives Free Outreach Center Inc.
  • Spectrum Support, Inc.
  • St Matthew United Methodist Church
  • St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center
  • Towson University Foundation
  • Trinity Temple, Inc.
  • TWS Community Outreach

County Engaging Community Partners to Expand Food Distribution Network

Through the grant application process, the County noted that multiple organizations requested support to enhance food assistance. As a result, over 30 community organizations will be invited to partner with the County’s ongoing efforts to address food insecurity and the challenges of providing food and nutrition assistance safely during the pandemic.

To date, Baltimore County’s successful food distribution effort has provided over four million meals for County residents. Through this expanded food distribution collaboration, Baltimore County will directly engage nonprofit networks to ensure resources are reaching residents most in need of assistance.

This support for local community-based organizations is the latest effort from Baltimore County to support residents suffering as a result of the pandemic. Baltimore County has made millions in grant funding available for small businesses through the Small Business Relief Grants Program; offered $200,000 in grant funding to assist professional artists, musicians and performers; and provided millions in rental assistance to households at risk of losing their current housing.

Donations to the Baltimore County COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund continue to be accepted on the Baltimore Community Foundation website.

Future grant awards will be determined by additional funds raised.


 
 
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