Skip Navigation

Baltimore County iWatch Logo

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.

Public Safety News

 

Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
Keyword: covid-19

The Baltimore County Police Department wants to help businesses and shoppers better understand the Governor's latest additions to the Emergency Executive Order as it applies to social distancing and face covering in order to help you have a safe essential shopping trip:

Businesses

Essential businesses that are allowed to remain open during the pandemic are required by law under the Executive Order to:

  • Post signage at each entrance advising customers about the requirement to wear face coverings
  • Designate with signage, tape, or any other means six-foot spacing markers where lines form
  • Sanitize, or provide customers with a means to sanitize, the handles of available carts and baskets
  • Provide staff and customers with clean restrooms stocked with soap or sanitizer, and allow staff to wash their hands at least once every 30 minutes

Baltimore County Police Department is also encouraging area businesses to consider these additional safety measures that other businesses around the country have already implemented:

  • Limit store hours to ensure time for cleaning and disinfecting
  • Allow early shopping hours restricted to at-risk populations
  • Limit the number of shoppers inside the store at a single time
  • Utilize one-way aisle shopping with directional floor stickers or other markings
  • Place plexiglass barriers between cashiers and shoppers at the checkout

Face Covering

A face covering is defined in the Executive Order as anything that can be used to fully cover a person's nose and mouth. It is not required to be a medical-grade mask, but can be. You can use a surgical type mask available at a home improvement store, a scarf, a bandanna, or even just pull your shirt up over your nose and mouth.

A face covering is required to be worn:

  • On any public transportation, including a ride-share like Uber or Lyft
  • By anyone over the age of 9 inside any retail or food service establishment
  • An adult who is accompanying any children age 2 - 9 must make a reasonable effort to cover the faces of those children while inside any retail or food service establishment*
  • By all employees of retail establishments while working in areas open to the public or where interactions with other employees are likely
  • By all employees of food service establishments who interact with customers, including delivery personnel  

* Covering the face of a child under the age of 2 years can lead to suffocation and should not be done!

Safe Essential Shopping Tips

The number one recommendation for shoppers around the country is not to go out at all. Utilize the many options that stores are providing for online shopping, delivery, or curb-side pick-up. A quick phone call or online search of the company can indicate if a store is offering any of these options for you. If you do have to venture out for essentials over the next few weeks, keep these tips in mind:

  • Go shopping alone - do not bring kids and designate one shopper for your household to limit exposure
  • Do not go shopping if you are feeling ill or under the weather at all
  • Minimize your shopping trips to once every week or every other week
  • Remember to bring a face cover with you - a surgical mask, a jogging or motorcycle half-mask, a folded handkerchief across your nose and mouth, even a scarf
  • If you don't have one available, pulling your shirt or jacket up over your nose and mouth while you are inside the establishment will suffice
  • Keep your hands clean - wash often, sanitize your hands before you enter the store and before you put your hands back on your steering wheel
  • Wearing latex gloves may give you a false sense of security - they can keep your hands clean but they'll spread germs just as easily if you aren't careful about what you touch
  • Bring a disinfectant wipe with you and wipe down the cart handle before shopping
  • Only touch items you plan on buying - remember the wise words of your mother, "Look but don't touch!"
  • Adhere to the directions stores use for one-way aisle shopping and be patient with the person in front of you - try to refrain from passing them in the aisle
  • Maintain 6 feet of distance between you and other shoppers throughout the store - that's about the length of 2 average size shopping carts
  • Utilize the 6 foot markings required for checkout lines
  • Don't hoard goods - supply cannot keep up with excessive demand, but if we purchase "normal use" quantities there will remain plenty for everyone to go around
  • Pay for goods with a card instead of exchanging cash - the card can be wiped clean with a disinfectant wipe
  • Be prepared for a longer than normal shopping expedition and expect lines at the checkout

Most importantly, please be patient, kind and courteous with everyone around you. Tensions are high. This is a tough time for everyone, but we are in this together and we must all work together to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Protect yourself, but also remember to protect those around you from the germs YOU may be carrying. This Executive Order will help stop the spread of this dangerous virus and keep us and our loved ones safe. Happy shopping - and wash those hands!

You can find additional information on Governor Hogan's website under COVID-19 Response or follow these additional links for more information:

Any person who knowingly and willfully violates the conditions of the Governor's Executive Order is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment of up to one year or a fine of up to $5000, or both.

Effective immediately, Baltimore County Fire Department medic units and ambulances will not allow family members to ride with patients to local hospitals. This change is necessary because all Baltimore area hospitals have limited or completely restricted visitor access as a safety measure during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

In rare instances and depending on the patient's circumstances, BCoFD will transport a family member with the understanding that the family member will remain outside the hospital, pending direction by hospital staff.

BCoFD  appreciates the public's patience as we work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

To the families of Baltimore County Fire & EMS providers:Fire Chief Joanne Rund

In these unprecedented trying times, I know that the safety of your loved ones is your greatest concern. I understand; it is my greatest concern as well. We owe all of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic the best protection we possibly can offer.

I want to make you aware of the steps we are taking in Baltimore County to protect our first responders so they can return safely to you – and safely treat our patients.

First, we remind you that BCoFD personnel always use personal protective equipment (PPE) – gloves, for example -- and follow protocols designed to protect them and our patients from infection and illness; this is true even in normal times.

The threat posed by the novel coronavirus COVID-19 demands additional measures. Here are some of the most important ones:

  • A mandatory “Healthy Check-In Program” to make sure personnel come to work healthy. We take temperatures every time we start a shift, and ask basic screening questions about cough, fever and respiratory symptoms. If BCoFD personnel display any of those symptoms, they are sent home. The Healthy Check-In applies to civilian and sworn personnel and effective until further notice. Company commanders are responsible for documenting completion of these checks.
  • We have restricted visitors to our fire stations.
  • We have enhanced our normal practices for cleaning stations and apparatus. All personnel must disinfect the following surfaces three times a day: Desks, eating and food prep areas, phones, door knobs, push and pull door handles, sinks, bathroom mirrors, patient compartment areas and other heavily-trafficked or used surfaces.
  • All providers must wear the appropriate PPE based on information provided from 911 operators about the call and on observations at the scene, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control standards. (911 callers are screening calls for cough, respiratory symptoms and fever so we have a better idea of potential COVID-19 risk.)
  • The drivers of our medic units and other apparatus must wash hands thoroughly before entering the front of the cab for transport.
  • After a call, PPE must be removed in accordance with CDC recommendations.

Thank you so much for your support. We hear every day from residents who express their appreciation for the work your loved ones are doing. I hope that sustains you as we work together to get through these difficult days.

Fire Chief Joanne R. Rund

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017