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Coronavirus Updates: State of Emergency Extension, Alcohol Carry-Out, Small Business Loans, Playgrounds Closed

Coronavirus Updates: State of Emergency Extension, Alcohol Carry-Out, Small Business Loans, Playgrounds Closed

March 20, 2020

Media Contact:

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412

 

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Today, the Howard County Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution to extend the local State of Emergency until further notice, which was then signed by County Executive Ball.

“Our singular focus is public safety – and I’m thankful to the Council for their swift action to extend the State of Emergency for Howard County,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “The State of Emergency is a reminder to all residents that coronavirus (COVID-19) is a very serious threat to public health, and we appreciate the patience and understanding from our community during this rapidly changing situation. The coronavirus response is going to be significantly challenging and disruptive for our community, and we will do everything necessary to slow the spread and save lives.”

When operating under a State of Emergency, the County Executive may issue executive orders that the Executive considers necessary to implement the emergency operations plan and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within Howard County, including but not limited to orders to:

(1) Control traffic, including public and private transportation;

(2) Designate zones in the area of the emergency in which the occupancy and use of buildings and vehicles may be controlled;

(3) Control the movement of individuals or vehicles in, into, or from the area of the emergency;

(4) Control places of amusement and places of assembly;

(5) Control individuals on public streets;

(6) Establish curfews;

(7) Establish requirements to shelter in place;

(8) Control the storage, use, and transportation of explosives, flammable materials, or liquids considered to be dangerous to public safety;

In his original declaration of the State of Emergency on March 15th, Ball closed the Mall in Columbia, the Shops at Savage Mill, and the Howard County movie theatres.

"These are indeed unprecedented times for us all; I commend County Executive Calvin Ball and Governor Larry Hogan for their leadership,” said Opel Jones, District 2 Councilmember. “I was honored to vote to pass the resolution to extend Dr. Ball's state of emergency."

"As COVID-19 cases rise in our community, the County must continue to take actions that will slow the spread of coronavirus and keep our residents safe," said Christiana Rigby, District 3 Councilmember. "I'm grateful that the County Council unanimously supported this legislation, and I remain immensely thankful for our first responders, County staff, healthcare workers, grocery store employees, bus drivers, postal workers, and all those on the frontlines of keeping Howard County safe. We need every individual and family to do their part by staying home, avoiding contact with others, and practicing social distancing."

Alcohol carry-out and delivery has been approved by the County Council for Howard County restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries, distillers, liquor stores, and other entities holding a local license to sell alcoholic beverages. Alcohol may be delivered to residences or a curbside pickup location but does not allow on-premise consumption. Licensees are required to keep a delivery log with the purchaser’s name and address, date of the purchase, and verification that the purchaser is of the legal age to buy alcohol.

Additionally, today Maryland received official designation from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for its Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which provides low-interest federal disaster loans for small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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. The Howard County Economic Development Authority has also created an online business portal for local businesses that have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, which includes additional resources.

Ball also spent time today congratulating the Fire Academy’s graduating class via Skype. The class had 43 recruits, including 12 paramedics and 8 women. The Fire Academy consists of 27 weeks and 849 formal hours of instruction. Ball extended well wishes and thanked the recruits for their dedication especially among uncertain times.

Recreation and Parks

To reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission on surfaces and to discourage children from playing near one another, all Howard County Recreation and Parks' playgrounds are closed until further notice. For a list of County maintained playgrounds that this affects, see www.howardcountymd.gov/playgrounds.

Tax Filing Extension

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Friday that IRS deadline for filing taxes has moved from April 15 to July 15 due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus. The new deadline will give millions of taxpayers more time to fill out their tax forms as coronavirus upends daily life across the country.

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