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Governor Hogan takes sweeping actions to reduce the spread of Coronavirus/COVID-19

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(center) Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

The activation level of the State Operations Center has been increased to fully coordinate a full response to the coronavirus and the National Guard has also been activated.  As of Saturday, 

All Maryland public schools will close for two weeks starting on Monday in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus and gatherings of more than 250 people, including social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings, are prohibited.  All senior citizen activities centers will close March 13th and the governor has ordered all non-essential government employees to telework.  The cruise ship terminal at the Port of Baltimore has been closed and visits to prisons and state buildings are suspended.  The restrictions were announced after Maryland health officials confirmed the state's first known case of community transmission of the virus.

Starting on Monday, schools will hand out free breakfast and lunch to children 18-years-old and younger and those with disabilities over the age of 18 who participate in school meal programs.  Take-home learning packets are also available in-person and online.

Mayor Young's announcement is in addition to the Baltimore City Public School System operating 10 food distribution sites next week where students can receive breakfast and lunch between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. A list of the 10 sites can be found here. The City plans to increase the number of sites serving as food distribution hubs while schools are closed.

Baltimore County Public Schools will continue to offer meals to students as well.  Grab and Go meals from the BCPS Office of Food and Nutrition Services will be available Monday – Friday, from March 16 - 27 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the parking lots of several locations.

Following the lead of Maryland Public Schools, the Archdiocese of Baltimore will be closing Catholic schools in the community to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  Archbishop William Lori says the schools will be closed from March 16th through the 27th and all school-sponsored activities will be canceled during that same timeframe.  In addition, the Archbishop says he has instructed all parishes to comply with Governor Larry Hogan's order to limit masses and special events to no more than 250 people until further notice.

Baltimore City Police are ordering additional personal protective equipment for officers to use in response to calls that may involve the coronavirus. Commissioner Michael Harrison says the current supplies have been inventoried and orders have been placed to ensure there are sufficient supplies for officers.  The commissioner has also posted a video outlining the protocols officers should follow when responding to calls involving potentially infected subjects.

Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott has announced a series of proactive steps to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.  He says committee chairs should postpone hearings that are not necessary to carrying out city business. “I encourage you all to look out for your neighbors, support one another, and ultimately keep your spirits high,’ said Scott. “Baltimore is resilient. We have public health officials, medical professionals, and faith and community leaders who have all of our best interests at heart and who we must trust to keep us safe and healthy.”

The public is encouraged to submit electronic or written testimony on legislation and both city staffers and residents should maintain a safe social distance to prevent the transfer of germs. Scott also says every other seat in the Council Chambers will be blocked-off to enforce social distancing.

Baltimore Mayor Jack Young has announced several steps his office is taking to mitigate COVID-19. In a statemeny, Young said on Friday he ordered the activation of the Baltimore City Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to support [the] City's coordinated response to the evolving novel coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak. The EOC will remain in operation 24-7 until further notice.

“COVID-19 is a serious virus and the health and safety of all Baltimoreans is my top priority, said Young. “I've taken steps to: pause the practice of turning off people's water for failure to pay; called for a halt to evictions; turned rec centers into hubs where students displaced by COVID-19 can access meals; and sought financial assistance for Baltimore's small businesses struggling as a result of the spread of COVID-19.”

With Governor Hogan ordering a state-wide closure of all public schools for a two-week period beginning on Monday, Mayor Young said using the rec centers as food distribution sites helps ensure students don't go hungry.

"I take seriously my duty to protect the health of the general public," Mayor Young said. "We are putting in place a very commonsense protocol that many other jurisdictions throughout the state and country are turning to in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19."

Beginning Monday, students will be able to pick up a snack beginning at 2 p.m. and receive dinner starting at 5 p.m. at any one of 40 recreation center sites. A list of sites can be found here. The dinner program will end at 7:00 p.m.

Mayor Young's announcement is in addition to the Baltimore City Public School System operating 10 food distribution sites next week where students can receive breakfast and lunch between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. A list of the 10 sites can be found here. The City plans to increase the number of sites serving as food distribution hubs while schools are closed.