Newsletter: Governor's Re-Open Plans, Our County and Don't forget to sign your ballot
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
The Governor has just announced that he feels comfortable with staring Phase 1 of the State's reopening plan. The reopening of some businesses and religious institutions will go into effect 5 PM on Friday, May 15th. There are areas of our state that do not see the numbers that we are seeing here in Prince George's County. History will tell if the Governor's decision is the correct one.
Our County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks made it very clear last week and earlier this week that Prince George's County is not ready to start Phase 1 of reopening. The number of positive cases continue to increase in the County. We are still seeing an increase in hospitalizations and ICU patients. Until these numbers flatten or decrease, we all need to continue to stay at home except for essential matters, social distance with our fellow neighbors when we are out and stay covered with a mask to prevent transmission. We shall see if the County will issue a revised order that is more restrictive than what we received today from Governor Hogan.
Please continue to stay safe and healthy.
Which restrictions are lifted?
The Governor’s Stay at home order is replaced with the “Safer at Home” advisory.
Retail Stores may open at 50% capacity with masking & social distancing; curbside services are allowed and encouraged.
Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and other religious institutions may hold services inside at 50% capacity or outside; outside services are encouraged.
Some personal services may open such as barber shops, hair salons and pet groomers with 50% capacity and by appointment only.
Manufacturing may reopen.
Outdoor Fitness Instruction
Recreational Fishing and Hunting
Recreational Boating and Horseback Riding
State Owned Beaches and Parks are now Open
Non-emergency medical procedures
For a copy of the Governor’s amended Executive Order. To stay up to date with the administration's response to COVID-19, please click here.
School is Closed
Last week, the State Superintendent of Education announced that all of Maryland public schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year as part of a continuing effort to slow the coronavirus’ spread. Schools will continue with their distance learning programs. While this was not the outcome that many parents and students hoped for, it was probably a wise choice. However, distance learning has shown us where we have gaps with our students in terms of the digital divide and that school for a number of students is more than just a place to learn. For graduating high school seniors this year, Prince George’s County Public Schools is hosting a system-wide virtual graduation celebration in their honor, featuring Academy Award-nominated actress Taraji P. Henson as the commencement speaker! This event will take place Saturday, May 30th on WJLA24/7 News at 7 PM and on Sunday, May 31st on ABC7 at 12 noon.
Ms. Henson is an alum of Oxon Hill High School.
Grab and Go Meals for Students
PGCPS will continue to provide grab and go meals twice a week from 10 AM to 1 PM which now includes breakfast, lunch and supper. Six additional school sites were added for meal service on May 11th - Dodge Park Elementary, Gaywood Elementary, Judith P. Hoyer Montessori, Mary Harris “Mother Jones” Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary, and Ernest E. Just Middle School.
Nearby Food Distribution Sites and Resources
Every Wednesday from Noon – 3 PM SEED does a free food distribution located at the East Pines Community Center at 5819 East Pine Drive, Riverdale MD 20737. St. Hugh’s Catholic Church – Rectory Pantry, Monday-Friday 9 AM – 2 PM at 135 Crescent Road, Greenbelt MD 20770. (301) 474-4322 St. Mark the Evengelist Catholic Church, Tuesdays form 10 AM – Noon located at 7501 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville MD 20783. (301) 422-8300 Ebeneezer We Care We Share Community Ministry located at 6010 Princess Garden Parkway, New Carrollton MD 20784 , the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month at 10 AM (301) 577-7436. Holly Mountain International at 8751 Greenbelt Road, Greenbelt MD 20770 on Thursdays by appointment only. Phone number is (240) 551-5879. 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 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. Need someone to shop for you? If you are able to pay for food but need someone to shop for you, call the Rotary Hotline 240-781-6586.
June 2nd Primary Election
Some voters have received their ballots in the mail. If you have not received your ballot give it a few more days. I am still waiting for my ballot as well. The ballots have the original election date of April 28th which is a typo. Also we are aware that a number of people received the instructions only in Spanish. The Board of Elections is aware of this problem and are sending out instructions in English to those voters. Here are the instructions in English Make sure your ballot is postmarked on or before June 2nd. You may drop off your ballot at one of the drop off locations during Early Voting (Thursday, May 21 through Thursday, June 2nd) or on Election Day before 8 PM.
If you have moved or need your ballot delivered to another address you must request a ballot. You have until May 26th to request a ballot by mail or fax to the Board of Elections. You can also fill out the online application by May 29th to request a ballot.
If you are new voter or just moved to MD, the deadline to register to vote is May 27th.
You must sign the voter oath that comes with your ballot for your vote to count.
To check on the status of your ballot, whether it was received and processed, click here.
There will be 4 limited in-person voting locations in Prince George’s County for those that are unable to vote by mail. Click here for a list of the limited in-person locations. Earlier today, the Maryland House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee (lead by our own Senator Paul Pinsky) held a briefing with the State Board of Elections about the June election. You can watch that hearing here.
While we were told that the problems with the website are fixed it is clear from the emails and phone calls to my office that there are still problems. If you are continuing to have problems, please use this Unemployment Insurance Tracker Form or contact my office directly for additional assistance. Yesterday, the Maryland Senate Finance Committee and the Budget and Taxation Committee held a joint hearing to hear from Maryland citizens about their experiences with the unemployment process over the past 2 months. Over 1100 Marylanders signed up to testify and the hearing lasted over 8 hours. Here is the link to watch the hearing. Earlier today the Maryland House Economic Matters Committee held a briefing with the Maryland Department of Labor about the State Unemployment Insurance. You can watch that hearing here. To directly access the new BEACON One-Stop site, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/ The website will be down between the hours of 1 AM – 3 AM to perform maintenance and resolve any ongoing technical issues.
Prince George's County has established a Temporary, Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) available to help with rent and utility payments for tenants whose employment income has been negatively impacted by COVID-19. This assistance may help prevent arrears and late fees from accumulating and prevent evictions from occurring. Depending upon need, applicants may be eligible for a maximum of up to $1,800.00 per month for a maximum of up to 3 months of emergency rental assistance. Click here for more information and to apply.
County COVID-19 Resources
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. To keep track of confirmed COVID-19 cases within the county please click here. Nonprofit Resources Listing of resources and grants specifically for nonprofit organizations in the County. Business Relief Fund will stop Accepting Applications May 15 The County is accepting applications for County businesses who meet the eligibility criteria for a loan and/or grant to support cash operating expenses. 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 All child care centers are closed in the State, except for those providing child care for essential workers such as doctors, nurses, police officers, and others. Click here if you are an essential worker that needs child care.
Complete the 2020 Census TODAY. Call 1-844-330-2020, no code needed to complete your form over the phone Go to www.2020census.gov to fill out the census online. Let your friends know you've been counted--share this status on your social media: I am #ProudtobeCounted in PGC #pgcensus We need you to complete the 2020 Census TODAY.