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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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Keyword: safety

Plan for Youth Sports Must Follow Requirements Based on Guidelines from CDC, County Health Officer

The Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks today announced that it will authorize rec councils to hold youth sports in the fall, with strict requirements in place to protect public health and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Baltimore County Health Department, and the National Recreation and Parks Association, the County developed guidelines to protect public health, which includes requiring the use of face coverings by all individuals who aren’t actively playing the sport, and limiting spectators to parents and guardians of players.

The plan also encourages social distancing and prohibits individuals from sharing personal equipment.

It is the responsibility of all facility users to follow the requirements. Failure to adhere to County guidelines may result in removal from Recreation and Parks property.

The Department will continue to follow all State Executive Orders related to recreational activities.

Below is the full list of requirements for programs that are utilizing Baltimore County Recreation and Parks Facilities or programs that are operating under a permit issued by Baltimore County Public Schools to the Department of Recreation and Parks:

  • Participation in programs is only allowed if you have had no signs or symptoms of COVID-19, and you have not been exposed to someone who has had signs or symptoms of COVID-19 for a minimum period of 14 days before participation.
  • Participation in programs requires a signed Baltimore County COVID-19 Waiver Form.
  • If you are sick or feel sick, you should remain home.
  • At risk individuals, youth or adult, should remain home.
  • Temperature checks, under 100 degrees Fahrenheit, are required for players, volunteers and coaches.
  • Hand sanitizer should be available at all activities.
  • Assign an area for each player to place their equipment.
  • No sharing of drink bottles or any personal equipment.
  • No centralized hydration or refreshment areas.
  • No spectators at events, with the exception of parents and guardians.
  • Masks are required for parents and guardians if not practicing social distancing.
  • Masks are required by all volunteers and coaches in the program.
  • Masks are required for participants when entering the field and while on the bench.
  • Masks are not required for players and officials while on the field of play, but are recommended.
  • Social distancing should be practiced at all possible times.
  • Participants should refrain from handshakes, huddles and high fives.

In addition to recommendations that must be followed by all participants, some sports will be required to follow specific guidelines.

Sport Specific Guidelines

Football:

  • No Tackle Football games/scrimmages
  • Flag football games/scrimmages are authorized
  • Drills and conditioning activities are authorized
  • Player gloves are recommended

Soccer:

  • No throw-ins
  • Goalkeeper must wear gloves

Baseball and Softball:

  • A clean ball must be utilized at each change of team at bat, i.e. each half inning

Cheerleading:

  • No stunts
  • Masks must be worn at all times.

Responds to Over 20,000 Pandemic-Related Inquiries and Requests from the COVID-19 Hotline

The Baltimore County Department of Health hit its goal to distribute 100,000 COVID-19 safety kits to County residents in order to help mitigate and slow the spread of the coronavirus in communities hardest hit by the epidemic.

Kits are provided to locations across Baltimore County, including:

  • PAL Centers
  • Faith and community organizations
  • Nonprofits
  • Apartment complexes
  • Food distribution sites
  • COVID-19 testing clinics

“From the outset of this pandemic, our team at the Health Department has been working around the clock to protect the health and well-being of our residents,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “I want to thank all our frontline staff for reaching these milestones. By continuing to focus our efforts in the most impacted communities, we can work together to stop the spread and save lives.”

In addition, the Department’s COVID-19 Hotline has received over 20,000 inquiries and requests for assistance since the line opened in March of this year.

“Our African-American and Latinx communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic,” said Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “We’ve worked diligently to get safety kits into the communities hardest hit in order to provide safeguards and information that help to slow the spread of the virus. It is vitally important that efforts like this continue.”

The kits contain educational materials and personal protective items such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and paper soap (as available). Launched in May, the initiative was expected to take until December to complete. However, the demand for items provided and the Department’s commitment to meeting the need resulted in reaching the goal months ahead of schedule.

The County’s COVID-19 hotline is available seven days a week by calling 410-887-3816. Staff assist callers with everything from scheduling appointments for testing to helping residents successfully quarantine. Bilingual staff are available to assist residents who speak Spanish. 

The Safety Kit distribution initiative is a joint effort between the Baltimore County Department of Health, the Maryland Department of Health and the Maryland Partnership for Prevention (an Owings Mills-based nonprofit focused on disease prevention and education with an emphasis on high-risk populations).

Department of Health staff are also in the community emphasizing the importance of correctly wearing face coverings, frequently washing hands, consistently practicing physical distancing and encouraging residents to "Stay Smart, Stay Safe."


Baltimore County Takes Next Steps to Reopen, Align with State Protocols while Promoting Public Health Measures to Minimize Spread of COVID-19 

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced that Baltimore County will be moving into the State of Maryland’s complete stage one.

“Having made significant progress in the availability of testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment, we are prepared to take the next steps in safely reopening our economy. As we align with phase one of Maryland’s reopening, we remind residents to continue practicing social distancing and encourage those who are high risk to stay at home,” Olszewski said. “Moving forward, we’ll continue to make decisions based on the best information available and in the best interest of our residents.” 

County Executive Olszewski will issue an executive order tomorrow stating that effective Friday, May 29, at 5 p.m., Baltimore County will take the following actions: 

Outdoor Dining

Restaurants and social organizations, including American Legions, VFWs, and Elks Clubs may begin to safely reopen for outdoor dining only. All establishments must follow strict public health requirements consistent with the CDC, FDA, and the National Restaurant Association guidelines. 

In accordance with state protocols (PDF), restaurants must: 

  • Ensure patrons are appropriately distanced with no more than six people seated at a table, with the exception of members of the same household.
  • Ensure patrons are seated at least six feet away from each other, except for households seated together.
  • Use single-use disposable paper menus or sanitize reusable menus between each seating.
  • Sanitize outdoor tables and chairs between each customer seating.
  • Train staff in current COVID-19 health and workplace guidelines.
  • Begin screening procedures including daily temperature checks of all staff.
  • Ensure staff wear masks or face coverings when interacting with other employees or patrons.

Baltimore County Temporarily Offering Conditional Approval for Expanded Outdoor Table Service

Restaurants already permitted for outdoor seating, may open in accordance with state guidance and restrictions. 

To help ensure other County restaurants can open as quickly as possible, Baltimore County will be temporarily offering conditional approval for establishments to provide expanded outdoor table service on their premises. 

Beginning tomorrow at 9 a.m., establishments can apply for outdoor table service at baltimorecountymd.gov/outdoortables. The County will conditionally approve all applications upon submission, until further notice. Businesses must still follow all requirements of applicable Executive Orders, and requirements and guidance issued by local, state and federal authorities. 

This temporary waiver of prior approval does not apply to the Tent Permit. For safety reasons, all tents must be approved in advance and businesses must have a valid tent permit prior to erecting tents or canopies. 

Baltimore County will continue to work with communities to identify alternative and creative models including closing of streets and expanding into parking lots and public outdoor spaces and will announce next steps in the coming days.

Drive-In Movie Theaters

Drive-in movie theaters may reopen with appropriate health and safety guidelines. Olszewski had previously called on the state of Maryland to allow Bengie’s Drive-in to reopen. 

Youth Sports

In line with the state guidance, outdoor youth sports may resume, following all appropriate CDC guidelines and state requirements (PDF).

Youth Day Camps 

Outdoor activities at youth day camps may resume in line with state requirements and guidance (PDF).

Outdoor Pools 

Outdoor pools may reopen with strict safety guidelines and in line with state requirements (PDF).

Additionally, County Executive Olszewski announced today that Baltimore County will align other requirements for retail, houses of worship, and barbershops with current state thresholds:

Retail Stores

Retail stores will be able to further reopen for in-store retail up to 50 percent capacity, including staff. This applies to all retail establishments outside of those considered essential under the state’s orders. Curbside pickup and delivery remain strongly encouraged, and all public health precautions should remain in place. Shopping malls must continue to stay closed except for retail establishments that can be accessed from the outside. 

Barbershops and Hair Salons

Barbershops and hair salons may further reopen with up to 50 percent capacity, including staff. They may operate by appointment only and with appropriate health and safety guidelines. Under state order, other personal services establishments must remain closed until further notice.

Churches and Houses of Worship 

Churches and houses of worship may hold indoor religious services with up to 50 percent capacity, including staff. Outdoor and virtual services remain strongly encouraged. Religious leaders should do everything possible to keep their congregants safe. 

Residents are Safer at Home

Residents should continue to stay home when possible. Older and more vulnerable residents, and those who live with them, are strongly advised to stay home whenever possible.

Residents and visitors should practice safe physical distancing and wear masks in public, and frequently wash their hands and sanitize high-touch areas. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees when possible. Individuals who can work from home should continue to do so.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017