COVID-19 Coronavirus County Government Updates

For information regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Health Department and on where to get tested, click here.

Howard County has launched a Virtual Assistance Portal for residents to easily access disaster and emergency resources and other essential services. To access the Portal, click HERE.

Howard County is under a State of Emergency.


All Howard County Government gatherings, events, and meetings that attract one of the high-risk populations are canceled or rescheduled until further notice. 

Non-emergency County offices and facilities will be closed to the public until further notice, though operations will continue through teleworking by eligible employees, as designated by their respective department heads. 


The information provided in this dashboard represents the best data available to the Howard County Health Department at the time of reporting. All data is preliminary and is subject to change based upon additional reporting. To protect the privacy of impacted individuals, data for zip codes with 10 or fewer cases is suppressed.

While the Howard County Health Department strives for data accuracy, it is important to note that data about case counts is influenced by multiple factors, including the availability of testing. Case rates - the number of cases per 10,000 people - provide the most accurate indication of concentration but still do not accurately reflect the spread of the disease.

The case counts reflect the number of individuals who have tested positive. We know there are infected persons who have no symptoms and don’t get tested. Therefore, the number of positive cases is most likely an underestimate of the disease in the community. Every single Howard County resident needs to continue to practice social distancing, abide by all state and local executive orders, and follow all other recommendations in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Latest Press Releases
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HoCo RISE - Reopening Innovatively, Safely, and Effectively
What's Open in Howard County?

As of May 29th at 7 a.m.:

- Retail may open at 50% capacity.
- Barber and hair salons may open at 50% capacity.
- Religious institutions may hold outdoor services for up to 250 people with physical distancing and masks. Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people.
- For details on these reopenings, please click here.  Interpretative guidance for these industries can be found here.

As of May 29th at 5 p.m.: 

Restaurants and bars may open to customers for outdoor seating. Interpretative guidance for restaurants can be found here. Information on how to apply for a permit for outdoor seating can be found here. 

- Outdoor pools, outdoor youth camps and sports, and drive-in theaters may open. For complete updates on what this means for Dept. of Recreation & Parks, please click here.

As of June 5th at 5 p.m.

- Howard County is aligning with the State of Maryland's reopening status. 
- Additional businesses may reopen, including some personal services at 50% capacity. 
- Religious institutions may begin having indoor services at 50% capacity and with additional restrictions. 

As of June 12th at 5 p.m.

- Indoor dining at 50% capacity
- Outdoor amusements and attractions, such as miniature golf or go-karting
- Outdoor pools capacity increasing to 50%
- See a non-exhaustive list of what's open and what's closed.

As of June 19th at 5 p.m.

- Gyms, indoor fitness centers, dance studios, martial arts at 50% with distancing and following strict public health requirements
- Casinos, arcades, and malls

As of September 4th at 5 p.m.

Movie theatres and live entertainment venues may operate at 50% capacity or a maximum of 100 people indoor, 250 people outdoors

- All retail, churches, may increase to 75% capacity

As of September 21st at 5 p.m.

- Indoor dining may increase from 50% to 75% capacity

What is HoCo Rise?

HoCo RISE is Howard County Executive Calvin Ball’s plan of Reopening Innovatively, Safely, and Effectively within the framework laid out by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan. HoCo RISE uses data to inform decision-making Data points currently used to guide decision-making around reopening and, if necessary, when to maintain or restrictions: 

  1. The number of new cases. 
  2. The number of new hospitalizations.
  3. The number of patients admitted to ICU.
  4. The number of tests conducted.
  5. The amount of available PPE. 
  6. Surge capacity at Howard County General Hospital (HCGH). 
  7. HoCo RISE follows the Governor’s guidance on the building blocks for reopening 
To view the complete HoCo RISE framework, please click here.  
Outdoor Seating Permits

Restaurants and bars that do not currently have outdoor table service or need to expand existing outdoor table service can apply for a Temporary Use Permit for Outdoor Table Service by visiting:

If the proposed outdoor seating is located on private property, businesses may provisionally set up and begin using the outdoor seating; however Howard County may suspend, revoke, or require modifications to the arrangement should conditions that conflict with Howard County guidelines or safe operations arise. If the proposed outdoor seating is located on county property, businesses must wait for their permit to be issued before setting up new seating.

If you are unsure if your situation needs a permit, please read through this flowchart.
Resource Phone Directory

For a comprehensive list of public resources for non-medical coronavirus questions,please click here.

Closures and Cancellations

Howard County Government Buildings Closed To Public Until Further Notice
Howard County Council Closed to Public Until Further Notice
Howard County Public Schools Virtual Learning 
Howard County Libraries Closed Until Further Notice - Offering curbside pick-up starting June 29
Howard Community College March 15 - March 29, Moving Online March 30
50+ Centers March 13 - Until Further Notice
Recreation and Parks - Indoor Facilities Facilities may be open with restrictions, please click here for details. 
Recreation and Parks - Programs, Classes, Leagues, Events Outdoor programs, classes, and camps may resume June 29th, please click here for details.
Recreation and Parks - Large Events, Gatherings, Weddings (50 or more people) March 13 - July 15

HoCo Maps

'HoCo Food Distribution' is a mapping tool that lists the different meal, grocery, and other free food distribution sites around Howard County for those in need. Check out the map here. 

‘HoCo Food Go,’ is a resource which lists and maps different delivery and carryout options for Howard County restaurants. Check out the map here. 

'HoCo Farm Connect' is a resource which lists and maps Howard County farms that are selling produce, dairy, meat and more directly to residents. Check out the map here.

'HoCo Donation Collection' is a tool which lists and maps locations for Howard County residents to drop-off product donations needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.Check out the map here.

Operational Services and Resources
Alpha Ridge Landfill

The County's Alpha Ridge Landfill is open at this time; however, certain operations have been suspended in effort to protect the staff and the public. The Landfill should ONLY be used by residents with critical bathroom or kitchen trash disposal needs who do not have curbside collection service (either provided by the County or a private hauler). For more information, click HERE.

Business Resources A comprehensive list of business closures and resources from the State of Maryland. Guidance from Maryland on non-essential business closures beginning March 23rd, and additional guidance. 
County Parks All parks gates are now open. Boat rentals and pavilions remain closed. Residents may access parks from walking trails, but are encouraged to practice social distancing. 
Economic Development Authority Howard County Economic Development Authority has created an information portal for the business community impacted by the coronavirus outbreak that is available online.
Emergency Services All emergency services including Police, Fire, Emergency Medical Services
Inspections Inspections of buildings, roads, traffic lights and other infrastructure delivered online or call 410
Health Insurance  The Maryland Health Connection opened a new Special Enrollment Period to uninsured Marylanders who need health coverage during the State of Emergency for Coronavirus (COVID-19) 
Housing/Tenants For questions related to mortage or rent payments during coronavirus. 
Payments Alternative payment options can be found here for bills and citations. For questions, please call 410-313-2195.
Planning and Zoning Applications, documents, forms and plans submitted to [email protected] or by direct mail, or call 410-313-2350.
Police Reports HCPD encourages residents to file online at or call 410-313-2200.
Public Works Send inquiries by email or call 410-313-4400.
RTA Transit Partial service effective June 14.  Click here for schedule.
Trash and Recycling On-Schedule. See full updates for Alpha Ridge Landfill.
School Meals Meals will be available from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., weekdays.  
Small Business Assistance According to the SBA, the loans will help alleviate financial strain and allow businesses to pay bills, payroll, and accounts payable, with long-term payments stretching up to 30 years. Small businesses and private non-profit organizations can apply directly to the SBA for financial assistance here.
Unemployment If you're facing unemployment due to coronavirus, please see resources from the State and our Office of Workforce Development. 
Food Distribution Sites



Howard County government, community partners, and local organizations are providing a variety of food distribution resources for residents in need.


  • Howard County Public School Systems Grab-N-Go meals are available Monday-Friday from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm for anyone under 18, no pre-registration needed. Locations include:
    • Bushy Park Elementary School, 14601 Carrs Mill Road, Glenwood
    • Cradlerock Elementary School/Lake Elkhorn Middle School, 6680 Cradlerock Way, Columbia
    • Deep Run Elementary School, 6925 Old Waterloo Road, Elkridge
    • Ducketts Lane Elementary School, 6501 Ducketts Lane, Elkridge
    • Hollifield Station Elementary School, 8701 Stonehouse Drive, Ellicott City
    • Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City
    • Laurel Woods Elementary School, 9250 North Laurel Road, Laurel
    • Oakland Mills Middle School, 9540 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia
    • Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia
    • Talbott Springs Elementary School, 9550 Basket Ring Road, Columbia
    • Wilde Lake Middle School, 10481 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia
  • Community Locations: (Weekend meals not provided at community locations) 
    • Forest Ridge Apartments, 5890 Stevens Forest Rd, Columbia
    • Monarch Mills Apartments, 7600 Monarch Mills Way, Columbia
    • Bethel Christian Academy, Campus 1, 8455 Savage Guilford Rd., Savage
  • Department of Community Resources and Services is currently offering Grab & Go food distribution for eligible older adults at the Ellicott City 50+ Center, located at 9401 Frederick Rd, Ellicott City, MD 21042. Distribution is held on Thursdays between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. for registered residents.
  •  Howard County Food Bank is open Tuesdays – Thursdays 1 – 4 p.m. , and Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon at 9385 Gerwig Lane in Columbia. The Food Bank is providing pre-packaged bags of food to clients and new clients should bring identification and proof of Howard County residency for their first visit.
  • Columbia Community Cares is providing grab and go bags of food, and other essential supplies such as diapers, at the following locations, Monday – Saturday, 11:30    a.m - 1:30 p.m:
    • Cradlerock Elementary School/Lake Elkhorn Middle School, 6680 Cradlerock Way, Columbia
    • Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Road, Ellicott City
    • Oakland Mills Middle School, 9540 Kilimanjaro Road, Columbia
    • Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia
    • Wilde Lake Middle School, 10481 Cross Fox Lane, Columbia
  • Salvation Army has food distribution on Aug. 19, Sept. 23, and Oct. 21 at 3267 Pine Orchard Lane, Ellicott City from 1 -3 p.m. They will have fresh produce along with canned goods, please bring proof of Howard County residency.
  • Feed Howard County will be distributing meals at the following locations.
    • Wednesday, August 5 @ 4:00 -- Open to the public  Howard Crossing Apts. 8732 Town & Country Blvd. Ellicott City 150 meals - La Palapa  
    • Thursday, August 6 @ 4:00 pm --- Open to the public Roslyn Rise 10431 Twin Rivers Road Columbia 100 meals - Putting on the Ritz  
    • Tuesday, August 11 @ 4:00 pm -- Open to the public Rideout Health Harper's Farm Road Columbia 100 meals - Kung Fu Szechaun  
    • Wednesday, August 12 @ 4:00 pm -- Open to the public Howard Crossing Apts. 8732 Town & Country Blvd. Ellicott City 150 meals - Kelsey's  
    • Wednesday, August 19 @ 4:00 pm -- Open to the public Howard Crossing Apts. 8732 Town & Country Blvd. Ellicott City 150 meals - Zen Garden 
  • The COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) has the following food distributions planned for 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. (or until food runs out):
    • Aug. 7 / Chatham Gardens Apartments 3338 North Chatham RoadEllicott City, MD 21042
    • Aug. 14 / The Seasons Apartments 9640 Barrel House RoadLaurel, MD  20723  
    • Aug. 21 / Howard Crossing Apartment Homes 8732 Town & Country Blvd.Ellicott City, MD  21043 
    • Aug. 28 / Wilde Lake Interfaith Center10431 Twin Rivers RoadColumbia, MD  21044


Community Updates
The above information is rapidly evolving, to stay informed on coronavirus updates, please follow social media:
Departmental Updates
County Council Howard County Council Offices are closed to the public until further notice, but services are still being provided. Read the Council’s complete statement.  Fore  more information, please contact your Council representative at 410-313-2001.  Please check online for the latest information regarding changes to schedules, deadlines, and Council operation. March and April hearings before the Zoning board, Board of Appeals, Council Hearing Examiners, and the Alcohol Beverages Hearing Board are postponed and will be rescheduled.
Community Resources & Services Phone appointments can be made via 410-313-6400. Multi-Service Center services will be conducted online or via phone at 41-313-0220. For childcare and parenting, please call the CAREline at 410-313-2273. 
Housing Howard County awarded $1.5 million in funding to five nonprofit agencies to provide rental assistance directly to residents suffering from a loss of income related to COVID-19. The application period opened on July 6, 2020.  Applications and funding are still available. Maximum household income limits apply. Residents can visit or contact the Housing Department at (410) 313-6318 for additional information. Residents can contact one of the five non-profit agencies - the Community Action Council, Grassroots, Family and Children’s Services, FIRN and The United Way - to complete an application for up to 3 months of rent payment assistance to pay past due rent and prevent eviction. The Howard County Housing Commission and Bridges to Housing Stability also received funding to provide rental assistance to residents living in their properties.  
Human Rights Members of the public wishing to schedule appointments should call 410-313-6430.  Online Complaints can be filed at: Online Complaint.
Inspections, Licenses and Permits Customers who are unable to use online services or who have service requests that cannot be conducted via mail, will be by appointment only. Call (410) 313-2455, option #4 for more information and direction. The Department will continue to inspect construction projects and properties with modified processes to limit person to person contact.
Planning and Zoning (DPZ) For assistance from the DPZ Public Service Counter, including checking out or returning plan drawings for red-lining purposes, please contact 410-313-4395. For all other general inquiries related to development plans or projects, community planning, agricultural preservationhistoric preservationhistoric preservation applications, and demolition form contact 410-313-2350 or email [email protected]Contact information for individual programs can be found on the website, as well as applications, forms and fees. Plan review will continue through the electronic submission process (PDox).
Public Works Real Estate General Services (Developer Agreements, Capital Projects, Leasing Inquiries, ADO Agreements, Fire Protection Agreements, and Water & Sewer House Connections) can be conducted via phone and e-mail: [email protected] and 410-313-2330. For customer service inquiries please call 410-313-4400.
Recreation and Parks For detailed closures and cancellation information, click here.
Social Services The Department of Social Services tools are accessible online or by phone: Apply for SNAP (Food Stamps or Cash Assistance), apply for medical assistance and health insurance, and long-term care. Or call 1-800-332-6347 and request a paper application and mail, email or fax to local office. Email: [email protected]. Fax 410-872-4231. Residents can submit any required documentation via the MYDHR portal or via email: Child support: [email protected];  FIA: [email protected]. Check MYDHR account for case updates.  Contact the call center at 1-800-332-6347 Monday-Friday 8:30- 5:00, call 410-872-8700, or Email [email protected] 
Workforce Development The Office of Workforce Development has compiled FAQs for how to access their services