Delegate Nicole A. Williams Newsletter: Mask Orders and Travel Advisory
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
I hope you are staying cool during these hot days of summer. If you are like me and watching the news you continue to see the rising number of cases in a number of states across the country. Here in Maryland, we are not as bad as some other states but we are seeing an increase in COVID-19 cases, especially among those age 35 and younger.
Governor Hogan held a press conference yesterday expressing concern that some Marylanders are getting relax about maintaining their social distance with family and friends. Therefore, we will continue to stay in Phase 2 of the State’s reopening plan for now. We are not ready to move into Phase 3 and Marylanders need to continue to be diligent. The Governor expanded the mandatory mask order and issued a travel health advisory against visiting states that have a positivity rate above 10 percent.
We are less than 100 days from the general election. Governor Hogan also stated yesterday that he is not changing the elections process for November. He has ordered the State Board of Elections to mail everyone an application for an absentee ballot. However, it seems that the fiscally prudent approach is to just mail everyone an absentee ballot instead of the application for the ballot and then the ballot. Our County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks is asking for everyone to obtain an absentee ballot instead of going to the polls on election day. The Governor also mentioned that he, along with the other Governors across the country, is continuing to push the Federal Government for desperately needed aid for Maryland and other states across the country that are seeing reduced revenues because of the pandemic. I agree that folks in Washington need to agree on a bill soon that will help the millions of people who will see a reduction in their unemployment benefits, possibly face eviction or foreclosure and are unable to return back to work. Nicole
Mandatory Mask Order
Goes into effect at 5:00 PM on Friday, July 31, 2020
Applies to everyone older than 5 years old
Mask wearing is required inside all public buildings including:
Houses of Worship
Personal Service establishments such as barbers, hair salons and nail salons.
All health care service facilities such as doctor’s offices, dentist offices, hospitals, pharmacies and labs.
Mask wearing is required outdoors when you are unable to maintain at least six feet of distance from other people.
Mask wearing is required when in or on public transportation.
Click here to read the Governor’s latest Executive Order.
State of Maryland Health Travel Advisory
The Maryland Department of Health strongly recommends that all Marylanders refrain from non-essential travel outside of Maryland due to increase COVID-19 infections in other states. If you travel out of state you should:
Get tested for COVID-19 promptly upon arrival in Maryland
If you travel to a state with a COVID-19 positivity rate above 10% you should also self-quarantine at home when you come back until you receive your test results.
The states with positivity rates above 10% are:
Essential workers are exempted from the quarantine recommendations if they are returning or traveling to Maryland to perform essential work, as well as employee commuters who have work-based COVID-19 screening procedures.
How to Request an Absentee Ballot
It is advised that you request your absentee ballot as soon as possible. You can click here to visit the Maryland Board of Elections website to request your absentee ballot online. You can also download the form from the Board of Elections website and mail in your absentee ballot request. Click here for the form. You do not need to provide a reason for requesting an absentee ballot in Maryland. We are not certain at this time if all of the normal polling places will be open on Election Day because of a shortage of Election Judges. If you are interested and able to serve as an Election Judge, you can go online here to sign up or you can call the County Board of Elections at (301) 341-7300.
According to the Maryland Department of Labor most of the claims filed have been resolved. However, there are still about 24,000 claims that are not resolved. If you or someone you know is continuing to have problems, please let my office know. Please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. To directly access the BEACON One-Stop site to file a claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/
Police Reform and Accountability
in Maryland Workgroup
The Maryland House of Delegates Workgroup on Police Reform and Accountability is holding a public hearing on Thursday, August 6 at 2:30 p.m. and the public can register to participate THIS WEEK. Registration to testify via Zoom closes today on Thursday July 30 at 9:00 p.m. Slots for registration will be limited and provided on a first come, first serve basis. Testimony will be limited to 2 minutes. Please visit this link, click on “Meetings”, and scroll down to the “August 6 Meeting” to find an updated registration link before 9 a.m. on Wednesday. The public hearing will begin at 2:30 pm on Thursday, August 6, and the Workgroup will hear public testimony from individuals on the following issues:
Investigations of police misconduct, including investigations under Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights Statute
Establishing a uniform statewide use of force and arrest policy for police officers
The use of body cameras and disclosure of body camera footage
The independent prosecution of law enforcement related crimes
In order to testify, an individual must register. A Workgroup staff member will contact registrants on or before August 5 to confirm the registrant’s attendance and provide further instructions for accessing the virtual hearing. If you did not get a chance to view any of the previous meetings of the Workgroup, you can watch them here on YouTube.
Community Survey for New Police Chief Search
Prince George's County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks would like to hear from you about what you want in a new police chief. You can access the County’s survey here to provide your input.
It was my honor and privilege to award 20 students who live here in District 22, scholarships to assist them in furthering their education goals. I wish to thank my Scholarship Committee for their hard work. They read through a bunch of applications from a number of students. By now, all of the students have been contacted and are in the process of accepting their awards for the coming academic year. They truly represent the best and brightest of our community. Please feel free to visit my website, www.nicoleawilliams.com around February of next year for information on how to apply for the 2021-2022 school year.
Rental Assistance and Resources
The State of Maryland will provide a four-month rebate voucher for renters living in state-financed properties. Eligible applicants will be tenants who can certify that the cause of their rent delinquency is COVID-19 related in any way, click here for the property look-up website. For more information click here.
Under County Law, tenants who can demonstrate proof through documentation or other objectively verifiable means, that the tenant suffered a Substantial Loss of Income and is unable to make rent payments because of the emergency, as defined by the Governor's Executive Order are afford certain protections through emergency legislation that was passed earlier this year. During the COVID-19 health emergency as declared by the Governor of the Maryland, a landlord may not increase the rent for a tenant with a substantial loss of income if the rent increase would take effect during the health emergency and within 90 days after expiration of the emergency. Additionally, landlords may not impose late fees or penalties for any tenant. Landlords shall not issue notices of rent increase, late fees or penalties that apply to payments required during the emergency and within 90 days after expiration of the emergency. Landlords must inform a tenant with a substantial loss of income in writing to disregard any notice of a rent increase if: (1) the landlord provided the notice to the tenant prior to the emergency; and (2) if the effective date of the increase would occur on or after the date the emergency began. Landlords may offer a written rent payment plan to a tenant with a substantial loss of income. Additionally, landlords are prohibited from evicting a tenant for non-payment of rent for any eviction proceedings not initiated before the COVID-19 emergency. This prohibition is effective for the duration of the emergency. Moreover, any new complaints filed against tenants for failure to pay rent shall be prohibited during the duration of the emergency. This new provision regarding evictions applies from the date of the Governor of the State of Maryland's Executive Order Number 20-04-03-01 on April 3, 2020 until August 31, 2020. Additional Resources: Housing Initiative Partnership (HIP) - rental assistance, eviction and foreclosure assistance, household finances assistance: https://hiphomes.org/covid-19-resources-for-maryland-residents/ Community Legal Services of Prince George's County - free legal representation if you are facing eviction or foreclosure: https://www.clspgc.org/ CASA - rental/landlord issues and legal services: https://wearecasa.org/ United Communities Against Poverty: https://www.ucappgc.org/ PEPCO: 202-833-7500 or https://www.pepco.com/SafetyCommunity/Safety/Pages/coronavirus.aspx BG&E: https://www.bge.com/SafetyCommunity/Safety/Pages/coronavirus.aspx WSSC: https://www.wsscwater.com/heretohelp Washington Gas: https://www.washingtongas.com/campaign/our-response-to-covid-19 Maryland's Office of Home Energy programs - utility bill assistance
Prince George's County Public Schools
Summer Food Service Program
The “Grab and Go” breakfast and lunch meals are available Monday through Thursday form 10 AM to noon at 87 school sites and 12 apartment complexes until August 13th. Click here for a list of all of the locations in the County for the summer grab and go meals.
Food Distribution Sites and Resources
Food Pantry Locations In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been setup throughout the county and in neighboring jurisdictions. Enter your zip code or address to search for the food pantry nearest you. SNAP Assistance SNAP is now approved in Maryland for online grocery purchases for delivery or pickup. Walmart, Amazon and ShopRight are among the participating retailers. Call Maryland Hunger Solutions at 866-821-5552 for assistance and questions related to SNAP applications. They can assist with completing and submitting SNAP applications over the phone, submit any changes to your active SNAP case, answer questions about your benefits, and direct you to additional food resources.
County COVID-19 Resources
The County Health Department now has five free coronavirus testing sites, open now. You do not need insurance or an appointment. The sites are open Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 6pm unless otherwise noted. First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville until July 30th (open from 9 AM until 3 PM) 6201 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville MD 20782 (Only Monday, Thursday and Saturday) Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center 7120 Contee Road, Laurel MD 20707 Rollingcrest-Chillum Recreation Center 6120 Sargent Road, Chillum MD 20782 Cheverly Health Center (open until 3 PM) 3003 Hospital Drive, Cheverly MD 20785 Wayne K. Curry Sports & Learning Center 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover MD 20785 (Closed to the general public 07/13 – 07/31 for testing of County public safety employees) There are also test sites operated by the State such the Six Flags Amusement Park location and private entities such as some CVS locations. Click here to find a test site near you. The COVID-19 Hotline If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Prince George’s County Health Department Coronavirus hotline at (301) 883-6627 from 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM to receive updated information about the coronavirus disease. *Please contact 911 for medical emergencies only. Nonprofit Resources Listing of resources and grants specifically for nonprofit organizations in the County. Hourly Employee Relief Fund The County is accepting applications for its Hourly Employee Relief Fund to assist residents who were laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing $200 cash cards for those in need. Childcare for Essential Employees and Employees Returning to Work Child care centers are opening up throughout in the State. Click here if you are returning back to work and need child care. To keep track of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the county please click here.