Staying Safe During the Holiday Season
Dear Neighbors and Friends,
I hope that everyone enjoyed a safe and healthy Thanksgiving holiday! Celebrations looked a lot different this year, whether you were video chatting with family and friends, eating socially distant outside, or keeping it small with the members of your household. For me, Thanksgiving includeda virtual scavenger hunt with my family!
We have had a bit of local news as well, including announcements by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. First, Prince George’s County recently launched a COVID-19 Restaurant Resiliency Fund to help those in the food service industry that have been impacted by the virus. Grants of up to $25,000 will be provided by the fund, and can be used to cover the costs of purchasing PPE, upgrading outdoor seating, and more. Second, the County has expanded the COVID-19 Hourly Employee Relief Fund, allowing those who are unemployed to receive Visa gift cards of up to $300. More information on both of these funds can be found later in the newsletter.
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) has also announced a series of webinars regarding the public-private partnership for new school infrastructure projects. These events will be held throughout the month of December, and will discuss the program, as well as take questions from community members. All of these webinars will be held from 7 to 8 PM.
Governor Hogan announced on November 23rd that $19 million would be directed towards preventing evictions across the state, with upwards of $2.5 million being allocated towards Prince George’s County. The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has and will continue to distribute these funds to local governments. The moratorium on evictions in the state, which was first issued on March 16, remains in place during this state of emergency.
That same day, Governor Hogan introduced a new compliance and enforcement operation for COVID-19 safety protocols. This includes a partnership with the Maryland State Police, who will be working closely with local leaders to ensure that our community is staying safe and following CDC guidelines.
This year has presented us with a fair share of challenges. By continuing to practice social distancing, as well as keeping interactions with those outside of the household or your bubble to a minimum, I know that we will be able to get through this together, as a community.
Prince George's County Delegation Virtual Bill Hearing
The Prince George’s County House Delegation is holding a virtual hearing on local and bi-county legislation on December 3rd, 2020 at 7 PM. To view the live meeting, please click here. To view a comprehensive list of the legislation that will be discussed, please click here.
Purple Line Update
On November 24th, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) announced that the State of Maryland and construction partners for the Purple Line project had reached a $250 million agreement to settle existing financial claims so that the project can resume construction. You can read the full press release here.
Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS)
PGCPS has announced a series of webinars on the public-private partnership for new school construction projects. This partnership will be the first of its kind in the country! For more information, click here.
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.
COVID-19 Restaurant Resiliency Fund
Applications for the Prince George's County COVID-19 Restaurant Resiliency Fund are being accepted through December 18, 2020, and will be reviewed first-come, first-serve. More information, as well as the application, can be found here.
COVID-19 Hourly Employee Relief Fund
Those who find themselves unemployed as a result of COVID-19 are eligible to apply for relief through this program in the form of $300 Visa gift cards. Those who have previously applied and received assistance are eligible to apply again, given that they remain unemployed. For more information, as well as the application, please click here.
Healthcare Open Enrollment Period Information Sessions
The 2020 open enrollment period for health and dental insurance is from November 1st through December 15th, and coverage would begin in 2021.
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 until December 11th, 2020. 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.
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) Closed, Monday, November 30, 2020 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. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
County and State 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. 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline The Maryland State Police have expanded their 24/7 COVID-19 Prevention Hotline. Community members are encouraged to report public health violations through the email linked above, or by calling (833) 979-2266. 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 $300 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.