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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: food

Maps Show Youth Meal Sites and Locations Offering Carryout or Delivery

As Baltimore County continues to identify ways to assist residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced new resources to help residents locate food distribution sites and identify County restaurants offering food pickup, carry out and delivery services.

“As we continue to respond to this rapidly evolving situation, we have to make sure our residents can access fundamental necessities—especially food,” Olszewski said. “We will continue to work around the clock to identify additional resources to provide food security for Baltimore County families during this challenging time.”

The new Food Distribution Sites Map has information about locations offering free meals for youth throughout the County. It includes locations operated by both the Baltimore County Department of Recreation and Parks PAL centers and Baltimore County Public Schools. Users can search for locations closest to where they live. The map will be updated as additional food resources become available for youth and other populations.

The County has also unveiled an online form to allow restaurants to self-report whether they are offering services during this time. Restaurant operators can share their location and what services they are providing, and the data collected will populate an interactive online map that residents can search. The BaltCo To-Go Map is online here.

County Expands Gathering Prohibition to 10 or More to Align with New State Actions

Additionally, County Executive Olszewski has directed Health Officer Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch to expand Baltimore County’s prohibition on gatherings or events to 10 or more people at all locations and venues to align with today’s announcement by Governor Hogan. Dr. Branch is also adopting new regulatory measures to require establishments to ensure social distancing and sanitation measures to promote public health. Residents should continue to call 911 to report violations of this order.

These are the latest actions from Baltimore County government to protect employees and members of the public and minimize the spread of COVID-19. County Executive Johnny Olszewski has issued an Emergency Declaration and taken the following actions:

  • Mandatory Employee Telework: Baltimore County has mandated telework for all employees who are able to do so.
  • Department of Recreation and Parks Providing Meals: The Department of Recreation and Parks will be offering limited meal distribution to children 18 and under through the Maryland Food Bank and Healthy Food Access St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore. The Department will offer the take-away meals from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays. Meals will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the following locations:
    • Dundalk PAL Center, 15 Commerce Place, Dundalk, Maryland 21222
    • Mars Estates PAL Center, 1498 East Homberg Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland 21221
    • Shady Spring PAL Center, 8876 Goldenwood Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21237
    • Hillendale PAL Center, 1111 Halstead Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21234
    • Cockeysville PAL Center, 9836 Greenside Drive, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030
    • Scotts Branch PAL Center, 3651 Rolling Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21244
    • Winfield PAL Center, 8304 Carlson Lane, Baltimore, Maryland 21244
    • Woodmoor PAL Center, 7111 Croydon Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21207
  • Water Shutoffs Halted: County Executive Johnny Olszewski and Mayor Young announced that neither municipality will turn off water service for failure to pay.
  • Evictions Suspended: All evictions have been suspended for the duration of the state of emergency in the County.
  • Fast-tracking Alcohol Delivery for Bars and Restaurants: Expediting approvals to temporarily allow establishments to deliver alcoholic beverages to residents in Baltimore County.
  • Government Building Restrictions: Directed County government buildings to be available to the public through appointment only.
  • Baltimore County Health Department Hotline: The Baltimore County Department of Health has a hotline for residents to call with questions or concerns about COVID-19. The number is 410-887-3816. The hotline is open seven days a week, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Extension of Licenses and Permits: County Executive Olszewski issued an Executive Order providing an extension of all County licenses, permits, registrations and other authorizations until 30 days following the end of the local state of emergency. This applies to suspensions concerning payments of late fees owed to Baltimore County.
  • Baltimore County Public Libraries Closed: All Baltimore County Public Library branch locations are closed through Sunday, March 29.
  • Baltimore County Senior Centers Closed: All Baltimore County Senior Centers will be closed to the public until further notice. Seniors can call the Maryland Access Point hotline at 410-887-2594. Calls are answered by a team of Certified Information and Assistance Specialists (CIRS), Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Department of Recreation and Parks Buildings Closed: All Department of Recreation and Parks buildings are closed to the public until further notice. County parks, trails and open spaces remain open to the public. All dog parks, playgrounds, skate parks, comfort stations and portable toilets are closed.
  • CCBC Classes Canceled: All in-person CCBC classes are canceled through Friday, March 22, and will resume remotely via alternative teaching methods starting Monday, March 23. Online classes will continue to be held as scheduled.
  • Suspension of County Travel: Suspending all County government-related travel through April 30.

Additional Resources

All County residents are encouraged to take the proper precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including regular hand-washing and social distancing as appropriate. All residents, and particularly those at high risk, should follow CDC guidance. For up-to-date fact sheets and information about COVID-19, please visit the CDC website.

Find the latest information from the state of Maryland or Baltimore County.

The latest updates from the Baltimore County School System, including information on school meals, is available on the BCPS website.


by Charlie Dyjak, Baltimore County Office of Communications Intern

Summer is here and with summer comes the opportunity to buy fresh produce at your local farmers market. Baltimore County is home to 13 different farmers markets approved by the Maryland Farmers Market Association, so there is always one close to home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer salads, BLTs, and seared vegetables are delicious summer entrees. When prepared with the fresh ingredients found at farmers markets, these dishes are out of this world. A good dish always starts with the best ingredients and the fresh, crisp tastes of locally grown produce cannot be matched.

Pick up these fresh ingredients at your local farmers market for a quick, light tomato and cucumber summer salad.

Cut 4 cucumbers into slices

Chop 4 tomatoes into bite size pieces

Dice a red onion

Toss together in a bowl and drizzle on olive oil and red wine vinegar.

Sprinkle in salt to your liking.

If you want to go “recipe-free,” just buy a juicy peach or tomato and eat it whole. 

Here are a baker's dozen Baltimore County farmers markets to explore, from Catonsville to Dundalk to Hereford. Grab your market bag and get out your shopping list!

Baltimore County Farmers Market
Maryland State Fairgrounds, Wednesday: 10 am - 1 pm 

Boordy Vineyards – Good Life Thursdays
12820 Long Green Pike, Thursday: 3 pm – 7 pm 

Catonsville Farmers Market
5820 Edmondson Ave., Wednesday: 10 am – 1 pm 

Catonsville Sunday Farmers Market
730 Frederick Road, Sunday: 10 am - 1:30 pm 

Dundalk Village Farmers Market
44 Shipping Place, Saturday: 7 am - 12:30 pm 

Eastpoint Farmers Market
7839 Eastern Ave., Wednesday: 9 am – 2 pm

Hereford Farmers Market
17004 York Road, Saturday: 9 am – noon

Kenilworth Farmers Market
798 Kenilworth Drive, Tuesday: 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm.

Overlea Farmers Market

6908 Belair Road, Alternate Saturdays: 8:00 a.m. - noon

Pikesville Farmers Market
1700 Reisterstown Road, Tuesday: 2 pm - 6 pm

Randallstown Farmers Market/Liberty Road
8604 Liberty Road, Wednesday: 1 pm – 5 pm

The Avenue at White Marsh Farmers Market
8215 Honeygo Blvd., Friday: 10 am – 1 pm

Towson Farmers Market

17 Allegheny Avenue, Thursday: 11 am – 3 pm 

 

 

Keywords: farmers markets, farms, food

By Jeanette Garcia Polasky, Communications Specialist, Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management

Americans are biting off more than we can chew.

Picture it: you bring groceries home from the store and prepare a family favorite for dinner – spaghetti and meatballs with salad and garlic bread. After eating, you all pitch in to clear the table, placing food scraps and maybe even some leftovers down the garbage disposal or in the trash. With everything put away and the counters and table shining clean, dinner is over, and you and your family settle in to watch an episode or two of your favorite show on Netflix. It’s a familiar scene, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Not even close.

So, what is the whole story? The story of our food is a complicated one involving a long, meandering journey from “farm to fork to landfill." In 2017, the Bureau of Solid Waste Management plans to explore this journey in a series of articles about food waste, food waste prevention and food recovery to help readers better understand the impact our daily food choices have on our families, our communities and our planet.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food makes up the largest percentage of waste that is buried in landfills or burned in incinerators, and more than 30 million tons of food are sent to landfills each year. In fact, 30 to 40 percent of the food produced annually in the U.S. is thrown away, which is more than 20 pounds per person, per month.

Think about it – what kinds of foods made up your 20 pounds last month? What foods are you actually eating, and what are you throwing away? How much are you throwing away, and how much did it cost? To reduce the amount of food we waste, we must first understand what we are wasting, why we’re wasting it, and how that waste affects us.

From farms to cafes to our kitchens, food waste happens in a variety of ways, such as:

  • People prepare too much food for meals and throw out the leftovers;
  • Food that was overcooked or badly prepared is thrown away;
  • Diners over order at restaurants, or the portions are too large, and the leftovers are disposed of;
  •  “Ugly” fruits and vegetables are left to rot on farm fields or disposed of at grocery stores;
  • Food goes “bad” before we’ve had a chance to eat it, or is disposed of due to confusing food date labeling.

Why does this matter? Food waste is costly. According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, food waste costs Americans $165 billion each year. That works out to approximately $529 per person. Food waste also harms the environment. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that food waste, if ranked among countries, would place third in total greenhouse gas emissions, after China and the United States. Lastly, food waste is a social problem. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that nearly 13 percent of U.S. households, or 42 million people, were food insecure in 2015.

Given the financial, environmental and social impacts of food waste, we all have a role to play in reducing the amount of food we throw away. Here are 10 tips to help you prevent food waste at home:

  1. Plan your meals in advance and shop smart.
  2. Don’t over-serve at home, serve food on smaller plates, and eat your leftovers!
  3. Store food in the right places (pantry, refrigerator) and containers (freezer bags, airtight containers).
  4. Avoid kitchen clutter and keep food neat and visible; keep foods “first-in, first-out.”
  5. Regularly take inventory and note approaching expiration dates; plan meals using those items.
  6. Treat “sell by,” “best by,” and “use by” dates as guidelines only. The FDA actually permits stores to sell food past the “expiration date.” You can learn more about food expiration dates at the United States Department of Agriculture but, remember: food date labels serve the retailer, not the consumer.
  7. Use soft produce in smoothies, soups and juices.
  8. Keep a food waste diary of the kinds of food you throw away, and why.
  9. As they say, beauty is only skin deep, so go ahead and buy that “ugly” produce.
  10. Use it up – cook with food scraps, such as meat trimmings and produce skins, peels, stems, and stalks.

It’s also important to talk to your family members about what they can do to prevent food waste at home, school and work.

In the next installment of our series about food waste, we will provide an overview of Maryland’s very first Food Recovery Summit, which brought together representatives from nonprofit organizations, local schools, environmental groups, the retail food industry, and local, state and federal governments to share ideas and best practices for reducing food waste in our state.

This article originally appeared in the Baltimore County Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s REsource Newsletter. To subscribe, visit our website


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017