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Coronavirus Updates: Fall Food Distribution, Utilities Moratorium Extended, Healthcare Open Enrollment

Coronavirus Updates: Fall Food Distribution, Utilities Moratorium Extended, Healthcare Open Enrollment

September 3, 2020

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

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and local organizations have updated students and residents on new meal and food distribution schedules ahead of the school year beginning September 8.

“Healthy, accessible meals are critical to our student’s ability to learn and grow,” said County Executive Calvin Ball. “Throughout this crisis we’ve seen our residents come together, coordinate, and provide for one another. We’re incredible grateful to our Howard County Public School System and local organizations on the ground who are working everyday to ensure our youth have the support and nutrition to succeed.”

HCPSS Free Meals
Meals will be provided at no cost to all students through December 31, 2020, subject to U.S. Department of Agriculture funding availability.

The food services program during the 2020-2021 first semester (Sept. 8, 2020-Jan. 28, 2021) will consist of Grab-and-Go meals served Monday through Friday from 8–9 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.–12:45 p.m., beginning Tuesday, September 8. Breakfast and lunch can be picked up at either meal time.

Meals will be served at all school locations, except for Burleigh Manor Middle School and Hammond High School, where construction is ongoing. Detailed and updated information on meal service for all school locations is provided on the HCPSS Nutrislice website and mobile application.

For complete meal pick-up information, please visit: https://news.hcpss.org/news-posts/2020/08/student-meals-during-2020-2021-fall-semester/

Columbia Community Cares (CCC) Donation Distribution
CCC has three locations for donation distribution or drop-off, and often provide groceries, produce, non-perishables, diapers, toiletries, and other essentials. These locations are operating Wednesdays from 5:00pm - 8:00pm and Saturdays 10:30am - 1:30pm.

  • Swansfield Elementary School, 5610 Cedar Lane, Columbia, MD 21044
  • Howard High School, 8700 Old Annapolis Rd., Columbia, MD 21043
  • Oakland Mills Middle School, 9540 Kilimanjaro Rd., Columbia, MD 21045 (site is located on the side of the building)

For more information, please visit the CCC website: http://columbiacare.live/

Utilities Moratorium Extended
The moratorium on utility shutoffs and late fees has now been extended through October 1, 2020. Utility companies cannot shut off any residential customer’s service or charge residential late fees through Oct. 1. Utilities include electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable tv, and internet service.

If you are still threatened with utility shut off, please contact the Office of Consumer Protection for assistance at 410-313-6420, or consumer@howardcountymd.gov.

Healthcare Open Enrollment
The coronavirus emergency special enrollment period has been extended through December 15.

Maryland Health Connection plans cover testing, visits relating to testing, and treatment of COVID-19. Consumers will not be billed for a copay, coinsurance, or deductible for services to test, diagnose, and treat COVID-19. Marylanders do not need to be sick to enroll in coverage. This special enrollment is for private health plans only. Those who qualify for Medicaid may enroll any time of year.

To enroll, visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or download the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. For free consumer assistance, call 855-642-8572 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays. Help is available in more than 200 languages through the call center, as well as Relay service for the Deaf and hard of hearing. Trained navigators and brokers statewide offer free help enrolling by phone.

Howard County Entering Phase 3
County Executive Calvin Ball announced this week that Howard County will move forward with Governor Hogan’s modified Phase 3 plan of reopening effective Friday, September 4, at 5:00 p.m. This includes the opening of enclosed and outdoor theatres with various restrictions and the loosening of restrictions on retail and religious facilities.

“Ahead of this holiday weekend, we want to remind residents that we are still very much in a public health crisis, and these relaxed restrictions do not mean we should let our guard down. In order to maintain our steady progress, we must continue individual preventative measures – like washing our hands, wearing masks, and physically distancing,” said Ball. “I also implore residents who have returned to offices and are spending time with folks outside of their households to get tested – even if you aren’t displaying any symptoms.”

Effective Friday, September 4 at 5:00 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

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