Post-Election, New COVID-19 Guidelines, and Delegation Night
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
We have made it through a historic election year! I congratulate President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on their win. The victory of the Biden-Harris ticket represents a special moment in our country’s history. Vice President-elect Harris will be the first female, as well as the first African-American and the first Asian-American, to hold that office. We have moved one step closer to breaking the glass ceiling, and there is no doubt that she will serve as an inspiration to millions of girls and women in this country.
I am so encouraged to see a record high voter turnout this year, especially among our young people. Civic engagement does not end at the ballot box! There are countless other ways to remain involved in your communities, such as joining a local civic association or attending a town hall.
In local news, we have seen quite a few updates at the state and county levels. On November 10th, Governor Hogan announced new restrictions to fight the surge in COVID-19 cases. This included an order to reduce the indoor dining capacity of bars and restaurants to 50%, a new advisory for out of state travel, as well as an expanded hospital capacity for surge patients. A few days later, Governor Hogan announced that an additional $70 million would be invested in COVID-19 measures. These funds will go towards building up the state’s supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), expanding staffing at the Division of Unemployment Insurance, providing renter relief, planning for mass vaccination, and supporting local food banks.
Also last week, Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced that in response to the surge in COVID-19 cases being seen in the County, new restrictions would be imposed effective Sunday, November 15th. This includes limiting the capacity of indoor businesses to 25% and outdoor businesses to 50% and requiring that masks be worn in public. Our positivity rate last week was 6.4% which is a 25.5% increase from the week before. It is imperative that we wear our masks and not hold social gatherings at home with family and friends.
Later this week, on Thursday, November 19th at 7 PM, the Prince George's County House Delegation will be holding a virtual public hearing on their bill agenda for the upcoming legislative session. You can find more details on how to attend and participate later in this newsletter. I hope to see you all there, as this is a great opportunity to stay involved and let your voice be heard.
Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS)
PGCPS recently introduced an online database on their website that tracks building closures related to COVID-19. This database is updated frequently and provides timely and relevant information for your family. To access the databases, click here. For other information regarding reopening plans, click here.
Prince George's County House Delegation Public Hearing
This virtual hearing will be held on Thursday, November 19th at 7 PM. The event will be streaming live on Facebook, as well as through Zoom. To access the Zoom meeting, click here. If you would like to submit written testimony, please include the bill number on the front page and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org before 4 PM on November 19th. If you would like to give verbal testimony, please sign up here. Individuals will be given two minutes to speak during the hearing, and representatives of organizations will be given three minutes. Organizations will be limited to one representative.
Healthcare Open Enrollment Period Information Sessions
PGC Health Connect and PGCMLS will be holding a series of virtual “Get Connected” events throughout early November to help educate Marylanders on the open enrollment period for health insurance. The 2020 upon enrollment period for health and dental insurance is from November 1st through December 15th, and coverage would begin in 2021. On Tuesday, November 17th at 7 PM, there will be a virtual “Accessing Health Insurance” community town hall. To participate, click here. As of November 1st, there will be PGC Health Connect navigators (many who are bilingual) available at three call centers daily from 9 AM to 4 PM; late evenings until 7 PM; and Saturdays, 10 AM to 4 PM. To talk with a navigator, call (301) 927-4500, (240) 719-2167, or PGC Health Connect’s partner organization, CASA at (301) 270-8432 and (240) 270-1318. For a listing of the hours and times, visit pgchealthconnect.org. Marylanders may also enroll online at marylandhealthconnection.gov, through the free “Enroll MHC” mobile app. or by calling toll-free at 1 (855) 642-8572 from 8 AM to 6 PM on weekdays. To learn more about 2021 health insurance plans and prices, Marylanders can visit marylandhealthconnect.gov/find-help/.
Childcare Provider Recovery Grant Program
The Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation recently extended the deadline for eligible providers to apply for recovery grants. Licensed centers can receive a grant of up to $20,000 for licensed childcare centers and up to $3,000 for registered family childcare homes. To apply, click here.
Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP)
On October 27th, County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced the relaunch of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). For more information, including eligibility requirements and the application portal, please click here.
Prince George's County Police Reform Workgroup
The Prince George's County Police Reform Workgroup held their last listening session on November 5th at 4 PM. You can view this meeting, as well as past meetings alongside their agendas and minutes, by clicking here.
You can contact your utility company today to set up a payment plan or request energy assistance funds. Click here for more information on how to obtain help with your utilities.
Prince George's County Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Prince George’s County Health Department continues to offer free COVID-19 tests for people with or without symptoms. All you need is a form of identification to get tested at the following facilities: First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville 6201 Belcrest Road, Hyattsville MD 20782 (9 AM - 3 PM; Monday, Thursday, and Saturday) Cheverly Health Center 3003 Hospital Drive, Cheverly, MD 20785 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Thursday) D. Leonard Dyer Regional Health Center 9314 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD 20735 (9 AM - 3:30 PM; Monday - Friday) Adventist Medical Group Primary Care 10709 MD-210 Suite D, Fort Washington, MD 20744 (7:30 AM - 11:30 AM; Monday, Tuesday, and Friday) There are also test sites operated by the State such as the Six Flags Amusement Park location (which just announced extended hours) and private entities such as some CVS locations. Click here to find a test site near you.
Distance Learning and Free Meals for Students
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) has a Distance Learning Hotline for students and parents to assist with technical/equipment issues, instruction guidance and more. You can reach them at 240-696-6229 (Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM).
Student meals are free for all students through December 31. You can pick up the meals from your neighborhood school or a school close to home on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 AM and 1 PM. Meals can also be delivered to many communities by school bus on Mondays and Wednesdays between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. As a note, meals will not be distributed during the week of Thanksgiving, on Monday, November 23 and Wednesday, November 25. Instead, those meals will be distributed on Friday, November 20. More information and a list of delivery locations by city here. Please check the PGCPS website on meal delivery days for any important updates or changes. PGCPS is hosting free immunization clinics at multiple school sites to assist families with meeting immunization requirements. Immunizations will be offered by appointment only in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines; masks will be required. Temperatures will be taken upon arrival. We will also offer dental services and flu shots for your convenience. More information is available here.
PGCPS continues to cover the cost of the Comcast Internet Essentials program, which provides affordable high-speed internet at home, for families eligible for free and reduced-price meals (FARMS). The school system will also help non-FARMS families obtain a Comcast or Verizon hotspot for home internet access. To request a hotspot, please call our Parent Center Hotline at 240-696-3315 or email@example.com.
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 an unemployment claim, visit https://beacon.labor.maryland.gov/claimant/.
Food Distribution Sites and Resources
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several food pantries have been set up 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 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. Food 4 Families and Community Legal Services of Prince George's County are partnering to offer a Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway. See details below.
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. 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 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.