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Baltimore County News

Baltimore County News

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  1. Baltimore County to Fully Enter Stage One Reopening

    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 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.

    Thu, 28 May 2020 21:45:00 GMT
  2. Baltimore County Helping Restaurants and Bars Prepare for Expanded Outdoor Dining in Advance of State Reopening

    Proactive Guidance will Help Expedite Reopening while Minimizing Spread of COVID-19

    In anticipation of future steps by the state of Maryland to further reopen, Baltimore County today issued proactive guidance to help restaurants and bars prepare to provide expanded outdoor dining options.

    Under Governor Hogan’s statewide executive order, restaurants and bars are currently only permitted to provide carryout and delivery service. While County governments may not exceed state mandates, this effort from Baltimore County will help ensure establishments in the jurisdiction are ready to reopen more quickly.

    “We are here to work in partnership to support Baltimore County’s restaurants and bars, which add to the vibrancy of our communities and are vital to our local economy,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “We don’t know exactly when the state will allow outdoor seating, but we’re taking action now to help ensure these small businesses can reopen as fast and as safely as possible.”

    Public health experts, including the CDC, have identified outdoor restaurant and bar seating—combined with social distancing and sanitary practices—as a lower risk option compared to indoor seating. This service, once permitted by the state of Maryland, would complement existing drive-through, delivery, take-out, and curbside pickup options.

    In a letter to restaurateurs, officials provided proactive updates outlining necessary steps to incorporate these public health practices into their business. Baltimore County is in the process of creating a streamlined application for establishments to request expansions in order to allow outdoor dining in areas not previously authorized, including both the use of private and public property.

    County officials are also in conversations with Chambers of Commerce about possible street closures in an effort to identify expanded outdoor dining options.

    By helping establishments expand outdoor dining options, restaurants and bars will be able to reopen more quickly.

    This is the latest effort from Baltimore County to safely reopen key portions of the local economy while maintaining public health measures to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

    Tue, 26 May 2020 18:15:00 GMT
  3. Testing Without Doctor’s Order Now Available at All Baltimore County Testing Sites

    Residents Should Call COVID-19 Hotline for Testing Reservation

    Baltimore County will now offer COVID-19 tests at all of its testing sites without a doctor’s order. In order to ensure efficient operations, residents will be required to call the County’s COVID-19 hotline to make an appointment.

    Previously, tests at County testing sites were only available to individuals with a doctor’s order. Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch has now issued a standing order for all County residents, enabling any resident wishing to receive a test to do so.

    Residents wishing to receive a test must call the COVID-19 hotline at 410-887-3816. They will receive instructions for scheduling an appointment. The Hotline is operating seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    “Increased access to testing is a key factor in our efforts to continue the gradual reopening of our economy, so allowing any County resident to receive a test, regardless of whether they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, is another important step forward,” County Executive Johnny Olszewski said. “We continue working around the clock to put measures in place that to reduce the spread of the virus and help get Baltimore County back to work.”

    “The standing order makes community-based testing extremely convenient for residents,” said Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Baltimore County Health Officer. “Additionally, scheduling a testing reservation will help ensure a more efficient process for everyone.”

    Testing Locations

    Baltimore County will continue to offer testing at the following locations:

    Residents are reminded that they should continue to take precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

    They should stay home whenever possible, and if they must go out, they should wear a mask in public places and adhere to social distancing guidelines.

    Fri, 22 May 2020 18:15:00 GMT
  4. No Trash, Recycling or Yard Materials Collection on Memorial Day; Drop-Off Centers Closed

    Collections May Occur Later than Usual During the Week Following Memorial Day

    Baltimore County government trash, recycling or yard materials collection will be adjusted on Monday, May 25, 2020 in recognition of the Memorial Day holiday. 

    Residents should consult their particular collection schedule to learn when to set out materials during weeks that contain a collection holiday. Schedules are available for download on the Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s website and may also be requested by calling 410-887-2000.

    Schedules are also available on the County’s BaltCoGo mobile app, which is offered free of charge to Android and iPhone users.

    Collections of all types may occur later than usual during the week following Memorial Day. 

    If a collection does not occur on the scheduled day during this period of time, materials should be left out until collection occurs.

    Drop-Off Centers

    Trash and recycling drop-off centers will be closed on Monday, May 25. Drop-off centers will be open with normal hours on Friday, May 22, and Saturday, May 23. 

    Drop-off facilities (and the trash and recycling customer service line) will reopen on Tuesday, May 26.

    More Information

    For more information, residents should visit the Bureau of Solid Waste Management’s website or call 410-887-2000.

    Fri, 22 May 2020 16:45:00 GMT
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