Brandon Weigel

Brandon Weigel is the managing editor of Baltimore Fishbowl. A graduate of the University of Maryland, he has been published in The Washington Post, The Sun, Baltimore Magazine, Urbanite, The Baltimore Business Journal, b and others. Prior to joining Baltimore Fishbowl, he was an editor at City Paper from 2012 to 2017. He can be reached at [email protected]

Gov. Hogan closes all non-essential businesses due to COVID-19

Gov. Larry Hogan speaks inside the State House flanked by Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz, left, and Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson, right. Image via Gov. Larry Hogan’s Facebook Live broadcast.

Gov. Larry Hogan on Monday closed all non-essential businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic, once again stressing the importance of social distancing and chiding residents who were not following crowd restrictions implemented by the state government.

The governor said the state used federal guidelines to decide which businesses could remain open. Those sectors include: healthcare, grocery stores, liquor stores, agriculture, energy, public works, community government, public safety, transportation, manufacturing and banks.

Restaurants can reportedly still do carry-out and daycare centers may remain open under the order. Among commercial businesses, home repair companies, cleaning companies, hardware stores, and laundromats and dry cleaners can also stay open, according to state guidance.

Following today’s order, the Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City said all licensed establishments “are considered essential businesses and thus not required to cease operations as per this Executive Order.”

The order takes effect at 5 p.m. Monday.

Maryland National Guard arrives in Baltimore to respond to coronavirus

Maryland National Guard Humvees parked at the Camden Yards sports complex. Credit: Tedd Henn.

The Maryland National Guard on Friday evening began setting up operations in Baltimore City to respond to the coronavirus pandemic.

Maryland Jockey Club reverses course, suspends live racing amid pandemic

St. Paddy’s Day 2015 at Laurel Park

One day after Gov. Larry Hogan issued an executive order limiting gatherings to 10 people, the Maryland Jockey Club reversed course on its plan to hold racing today, Saturday and Sunday without spectators.

Mayor Young orders freeze on new hires, new expenditures

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Anticipating that city revenues will decline due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young today ordered a freeze on new hiring and non-essential spending across city government.

Positions for new police officers, paramedics, firefighters, EMTs and sheriff’s deputies are not part of the hiring freeze. All other departments have to request an exemption and demonstrate the “critical service and performance impacts if the position remains unfilled.”

Scott cancels upcoming City Council meeting due to COVID-19

Photo by Wally Gobetz, via Flickr

City Council President Brandon Scott cancelled the upcoming full council meeting scheduled for March 23 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Scott’s office announced.

In a release, Scott’s office said staff is working to troubleshoot technology so the meetings can happen virtually, while ensuring they comply with the Open Meetings Act and that citizens who don’t have internet or TV can still participate.

Horse racing in Maryland will go on this weekend after all

St. Paddy’s Day 2015 at Laurel Park

Despite a prior executive order that closed Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course and Rosecroft Raceway, horse racing will go on as planned this weekend, with one industry representative telling Baltimore Fishbowl that running races without crowds is in compliance with the rule.

Alan Foreman, a local attorney and the chairman and CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, said conducting races is an extension of training activities that were permitted by the state under the order.

OIG: Pratt approved $48 million in BOE contracts from firms on ‘abstentions list’

Comptroller Joan Pratt at the March 18, 2020 Board of Estimates meeting. Image still via CharmTV.

A more extensive review of Comptroller Joan Pratt’s votes on the Board of Estimates indicates the city’s chief financial officer voted in favor of $48 million in contracts for 10 firms that were on an “abstentions list” because she had previously performed work for the businesses, according to a new report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Hogan heightens restrictions on gatherings and travel, urges limit to transit ridership

Gov. Larry Hogan speaks outside the Governor’s Mansion on March 19. Image via Facebook Live.

Following the first death in Maryland from COVID-19, and an 88 percent increase in confirmed cases over the last two days, Gov. Larry Hogan on Thursday tightened restrictions on public gatherings and access to BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and urged Marylanders to avoid public transit unless they are “essential workers.”