As we head into the sixth week of COVID 19 quarantine, I and my staff have been interacting with hundreds of individual residents, business owners and families fighting to avoid major financial problems, get questions answered and process unemployment claims – among other issues. I know that this is a frustrating and worrying time for everyone – even as we all want to keep people safe.
We’ve done a good job in Maryland containing the virus – although there are still some concerns. My hope is that we can loosen the reins up soon and help our families and economy. I believe it is critical to have a plan to begin a careful re-opening of businesses, non-profits and churches as soon as possible.
I expressed these concerns and ideas directly to Governor Hogan and his team– on Friday evening he spent 45 minutes on a call with Maryland Senate Republicans answering our questions and talking about next steps.
On the call, the Governor told us that he and his team are actively working on a plan for how to go about re-opening and will be rolling out new updates later this week. While there is not a date of implementation yet, I hope we will get a better sense of timeline following his announcement. We need to give businesses and individuals parameters of what kind of operations they’ll need to prepare so they can be ready to open safely at the right time.
We also urged Governor Hogan to lift restrictions on a number of types of recreational activities including fishing, boating, riding horses and golfing – provided that people that engage in these follow protocols of social distancing. A golf course could be open for use without the clubhouse for example. These would be great ways for people to improve their mental health.
Following the call, I’ve continued to stay in touch with the Hogan administration and will keep advocating for ways to help our community and get our economy moving again safely. Our Delegates in District 5 and the House Republican Caucus have also been raising concerns and advocating for next steps. It will not be overnight but I’m hoping we get a light at the end of the tunnel soon so families and businesses can plan.
Trump Administration Guidelines for Re-Opening–
President Trump’s Reopening Task Force has released guidelines to the states that say we need to have falling death and hospitalization numbers for 14 straight days to be considered safe to re-open. Currently, Maryland is still rising in these categories and 12 of our counties have been identified as COVID19 “hot spots” by the Trump administration. This does not mean that we can’t find a way to open more so-called “non-essential” businesses however.
Here are the Trump Administration guidelines to begin reopening:
(The entire plan can be seen here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/openingamerica/)
Most Recent Hogan Press Conference Announcements (Friday):
- More Details on Business Re-Opening Plan Scheduled to Come Later this Week-
On Friday, (before his call with the Senate Republican Caucus) Governor Hogan held a press conference to shed light on what will be necessary to in the upcoming weeks and months for Maryland to recover from the COVID 19 crisis. Over the last several weeks, state officials have been consulting with doctors and public health experts serving on the Coronavirus Response Team to develop a roadmap for the reopening of Maryland and the state economy. There are four key areas that must be in place in order for us to begin recovery, they include:
- Expanding testing capacity
- Increasing hospital surge capacity
- Ramping up supply of PPE
- Building a robust contact tracing operation
The governor stated that Maryland is getting closer to having these items in place and to expect an update from the administration early next week.
Some Good News: Landfill Re-Opens to Residential Customers
Earlier this week, following a lot of citizen input and feedback, the Carroll County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to reopen the Northern Landfill. It opens today, April 20th with measures intended to maximize social distancing and provide additional safety to resident visitors, commercial haulers and county staff. County staff also updated the board on changes implemented to ensure limited interaction following resumption of operations.
Starting Monday, April 20th, the Northern Landfill will accept residential waste customers:
- 8 am - 12 noon Monday through Wednesday
-12 noon - 4:30 pm Thursday and Friday and
-all day Saturday
If you are or know a high school senior or college student, please consider applying for a Senatorial Scholarship. For more information or to request an application, email Emily Van Horn at dev[email protected] and include your full address. Extended: Scholarships will accepted up to April 30, 2020.
My staff continues to work remotely and can be reached at [email protected] or by calling 410-841-3683. Both email and voicemail will be checked regularly. My team and I will do our best to get back to you as quickly as possible.
As always, I want you to know it is my honor to represent you in the State Senate. Again, your feedback and ideas are always welcome at [email protected] or by contacting my office.