Politics & Business

CDC says ‘no’ to clearing encampments during coronavirus outbreak

Tents line the sidewalk on 2nd Street Northeast in Washington, D.C., on October 15, 2019, as city workers prepare to clean the adjacent tunnels where the tents are normally erected. The District of Columbia frequently clears encampments temporarily so streets can be cleaned. Workers typically throw away anything left behind. (Photo by Julia Lerner/Howard Center for Investigative Journalism)

By Ryan E. Little
Howard Center for Investigative Journalism

People living in outdoor homeless encampments should not be evicted during the outbreak of the novel coronavirus unless they can be moved to individual housing units, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended late Sunday.

Living outside for prolonged periods of time has long been associated with greater health risks. But the recommendations posted on the CDC’s website said the short-term impact of clearing the tents and temporary structures would likely increase the risk of spreading the virus because people would scatter to other parts of the community.

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 confirms 44 new coronavirus cases, bringing state total to 288

This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC tests are provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. Photo courtesy of CDC.

Another 44 Marylanders have tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the statewide total number of confirmed cases to 288. Three Marylanders have died due to the coronavirus.

Only three counties in Maryland have not reported any confirmed cases of COVID-19: Allegany, Dorchester and Kent counties.

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.

H&S Bakery hiring more than 50 workers to keep up with increased demand amid COVID-19

Photo of the bakery via Google StreetView

As households stock up on basic kitchen staples during the coronavirus pandemic, the Baltimore-based H&S Bakery is hiring more than 50 new employees to keep up with the increased demand for bread.

The bakery said it is planning to increase production and distribution in response to COVID-19.

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.”

Hampden merchants offer same-day home delivery during pandemic

DoubleDutch Boutique is one of the Hampden merchants offering same-day delivery of their products amid the coronavirus pandemic. Screengrab from DoubleDutch Boutique’s website.

As Gov. Larry Hogan increases the types of Maryland businesses ordered to close amid concerns over COVID-19, many bars, restaurants and other establishments have offered carryout and delivery options to their customers. But eateries are not the only ones trying to navigate doing business during the pandemic.

A group of Hampden merchants, including a yarn store, florist’s shop and others, will begin same-day home delivery of their items March 23.

Maryland coronavirus total grows to 149 with 42 new cases, including two more child cases

This is a picture of CDC’s laboratory test kit for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). CDC tests are provided to U.S. state and local public health laboratories, Department of Defense (DOD) laboratories and select international laboratories. Photo courtesy of CDC.

An additional 42 Marylanders have tested positive for the new coronavirus, including two more children, bringing the state’s total number of confirmed cases to 149 as of 10 a.m. Friday.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maryland rose by 39 percent from Thursday to Friday.

Baltimore Public Markets close until further notice under Hogan’s orders

Photo by jpellgen (@1179_jp), via Flickr

Baltimore’s public markets, including the famed Lexington Market, have closed until further notice in compliance with a series of executive orders that Gov. Larry Hogan announced Thursday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hogan ordered all enclosed shopping centers and entertainment venues to close, effective 5 p.m. Thursday. He also prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people and urged Marylanders who are not “essential workers” to avoid using public transit during the current state of emergency.

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.