Aug 09th Mask Order

The Baltimore City Health Department announced a new mask order, effective Monday, August 09, at 9:00am.

An FAQ with additional details will be released shortly. As soon as available, it will be posted here.

In the meantime, one question that continues to be raised is why is the City of Baltimore able to issue a mask order when the surrounding counties are not able to. The City Charter gives the City of Baltimore, specifically the Health Commissioner, the authority to do so.

 

 

Mayor Scott’s May 14 Executive Order

Mayor Scott’s May 14 Executive Order

On May 14, Mayor Scott issues an Executive Order which rescinded previous City Executive Orders related to COVID-19 and defers to the State of Maryland moving forward. This removes all restrictions on gatherings and businesses, such as the number of people permitted in one place at an event at any given time or capacity and hours of operation limits for businesses.

The only exception is the City’s ‘Mask Order’ which supersedes guidance from the State of Maryland on wearing masks.

City – May 14 Executive Order

City – May 14 – Revised Mask Order

State – May 12 – Executive Order

City Press Release

 

Mayor Scott’s February 22 Executive Order

The new Executive Order from Mayor Brandon M. Scott is effective Monday, Feb 22 at 6am.
Key Documents
Key Changes
  • Indoor Gatherings cap of 10 people lifted – must adhere to occupancy limitations of space
  • Outdoor Gatherings cap of 25 people lifted – must adhere to occupancy limitations of space
  • Restaurants, bars, and breweries – one-hour max for patrons lifted
  • Restaurants, bars, and breweries – indoor capacity remains at 25% of maximum occupancy
  • Restaurants, bars, and breweries – outdoor capacity still at 50% of maximum occupancy
  • Restaurants, bars, and breweries – Sign in sheets still required for contact tracing efforts
  • Fitness classes – limited to 25% or 10 total persons, whichever is higher
  • Live performances – permitted, performers must wear masks
  • Organized amateur sports – outdoor – are permitted
  • Organized amateur sports – indoor – are permitted at 25% occupancy, no more than 50 total persons in attendance
  • Organized amateur sports – Tournaments and organized amateur sports events with teams from outside the State of Maryland are prohibited.
  • Organized amateur sports – Face coverings should be worn by all participants engaged in the field of play and everyone present.
  • Adult entertainment – prohibited
  • Hookah lounges – prohibited except retail
  • Cigar lounges – prohibited except retail

Senior Housing Buildings – COVID-19 Vaccinations

With 15 senior housing buildings in the 11th District, I have been working closely with the Baltimore City Health Department to clarify and communicate the vaccination plan for senior buildings.

The Health Department’s Mobile Vaccination Clinic has started the necessary work of vaccinating our seniors in the easiest possible way. While some senior buildings have already been covered by federal, state, and private clinical vaccination programs, the Health Department is working to provide first doses to all of the senior housing buildings by the end of April, hopefully sooner, provided there is enough vaccine supply.

The order of clinic dates is determined by a number of factors, including population density, social vulnerability index, and recent outbreaks. Representatives from the Health Department will be in the building knocking on doors prior to the vaccination date to notify and register residents, but pre-registration is not required to receive the vaccine. All staff members age 18+ and residents over the age of 65 are eligible to receive the vaccine. Second doses appointments – which need to occur roughly one month after the first dose – are scheduled with residents and staff on the day they receive their first dose.

The Health Department is scheduling clinic dates a week at a time, and the timeline will vary as factors such as the allotment of vaccines and guidance provided by the state determines supply and focus. If you have any questions about your specific senior building, please contact your management team.

If you wish to schedule an appointment independent of the above process, go online here: https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/pages/vaccine to find the best location. If there are literacy or internet access issues, please call 410-396-CARE (2273). You should call your primary care doctor and local pharmacy to get scheduled there as well. Finally, the State is recommending that you schedule a vaccination with as many different providers as possible to ensure you get the vaccination and get it as soon as possible.

Mayor Scott’s Jan 22 Executive Order

The new Executive Order from Mayor Brandon M. Scott is effective Friday, Jan 22 at 6am.
Key Documents
Key Changes
  • Restaurants / bars / breweries are permitted to reopen indoor dining at 25% and outdoor dining at 50% capacity. Sign-in / sign-out sheets will be required to assist with COVID-19 contact tracing efforts (similar to what Anne Arundel County is doing). There will be a one-hour time limit for patrons to encourage people to be mindful of how much time they are spending unmasked.
  • Fitness classes permitted to resume with 10 or less participants with masks required.
  • All indoor recreation sites permitted to reopen at 25% capacity with the exception of adult entertainment, hookah lounges, and cigar lounges. Hookah lounges and cigar lounges can continue retail but on-site consumption is prohibited.
  • Streaming of live entertainment / performance is now permitted.

BGE and Energy Company Scams

IN PROGRESS- PLEASE CHECK BACK LATER

There has been an uptick in reports of BGE and energy company scams across Baltimore City. Please see the following press release from BGE and the Maryland Public Services Commission (PSC) outlining the nature of the scams including helpful tips on how to avoid being a victim: https://drive.google.com/file/d/18h048F_7co3MVgbJIZoBv7oJrsGu7cZF/view?usp=sharing

These scams can occur mainly through phone calls or home visits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mayor Scott’s Dec 09 Executive Order

Mayor Brandon Scott issued a new Executive Order which goes into effect on Friday, December 11, at 5pm. Notable restrictions in the Executive Order include the following:

  1. restaurants closed for indoor and outdoor dining (only takeout and delivery will be permitted)
  2. indoor gatherings limited to 10 people
  3. outdoor gatherings limited to 25 people
  4. religious facilities limited to 25% of maximum occupancy
  5. retail and shopping centers are limited to 25% of maximum occupancy
  6. indoor recreational establishments will be closed
  7. outdoor recreational establishments limited to 25% of maximum occupancy
  8. fitness centers are limited to 25% maximum occupancy
  9. personal service establishments are limited to 25% maximum occupancy
  10. cultural institutions are limited to 25% capacity
  11. indoor and outdoor theaters and performance venues will be closed
  12. horseshoe casino is limited to 25% maximum occupancy with no food or beverage service

The full text of the executive order may be viewed here: Executive Order

The press release may be viewed here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/MDBALT/bulletins/2b05a3e

Stadium District Camera Expansion Project

UPDATE – STADIUM DISTRICT CAMERA EXPANSION PROJECT (impacting Federal Hill, Otterbein, Sharp Leadenhall, and South Baltimore)
BACKGROUND
Over the past four years community leaders in Federal Hill, Otterbein, and Sharp Leadenhall, led by Joe Levy, have been working with Senator Bill Ferguson, Councilman Eric Costello, Delegates Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman, and Robbyn Lewis, the Casino Local Development Council (LDC), the Mayor’s Office, Baltimore City Information Technology (BCIT), Baltimore Police Department (BPD), and large private property owners to install additional CitiWatch cameras in the Stadium District Area. The project was largely funded by casino impact aid, with the final total for Phase 1 in excess of $600,000. There were numerous challenges to get Phase 1 of this project to completion including ongoing community engagement from multiple neighborhoods, coordinating multiple city agencies, installation of 17 blocks of new underground fiber optic cable, construction of 10 new utility poles, and securing funding over multiple years from multiple sources. As these cameras go live, we will be working with BPD and other public safety agencies to assess the effectiveness of the cameras to both deter crime and assist law enforcement to hold wrongdoers accountable for illegal activity. While a set of fixed cameras is not a comprehensive solution to crime, this public safety project funded largely from casino impact dollars will add yet another tool to assist in our ongoing efforts to create neighborhoods where all members of the community feel safe. Without the hard work of Joe Levy, Ethan Cohen (Mayor’s Office), Stefan Waters (BCIT), and Major Sam Hood (BPD), We would not have been able to complete Phase 1 of this project.
RESULTS
The attached map illustrates locations for the Citiwatch cameras:
• Pre-existing Cameras (12 total) – Blue (these are Citiwatch cameras which were operational prior to this project)
• Phase 1 Cameras (12 total) – Green (these are Citiwatch cameras part of this project, which started going on-line in Fall 2020 and will all be operational by November 2020)
• Phase 2 Cameras (10 total) – Yellow (these are proposed locations of Citiwatch cameras for this project, which were proposed at the beginning of the project — locations are still TBD and are subject to additional funding)
NEXT STEPS
We will continue to work with the Mayor’s Office, BCIT, and BPD to analyze data to determine future locations. In addition, we will make best efforts to secure additional funding to help realize Phase 2 implementation. It is important to note that any future funding is contingent on a variety of factors. There is no expected timeframe that can be shared at this time.

Revised Executive Order and Face Covering Order

Mayor Young has issued a revised Executive Order which places additional restrictions in place in response to spikes in COVID-19. This goes into effect on Thursday, Nov 12, at 5pm. In addition, the Health Department has issued a Revised Face Covering Order, which has been effective since Friday, Nov 06. These documents are linked below along with two helpful infographics.

Read more

Pizza parties are easy, governing is harder

As an elected official, it’s easy to make promises people want to hear without considering what fulfilling those promises will take. It’s easy to look at the top line of an appropriation and decide – without reading it, without reviewing rules surrounding it – that you know how it should be spent. In essence, it’s easy to hold a pizza party – it’s much harder to actually govern.

For the “tl;dr crowd,” the bottom line is that we don’t have money available under the CARES Act for bonuses, and even if we did, bonuses are prohibited from being reimbursed by the CARES Act.

When I wrote last week that I wanted to give all of Baltimore City’s critical frontline staff a raise based on their commitment to keeping our City running during the pandemic, I meant it. But as an elected official, I have a duty to my constituents to carefully review and evaluate information before proposing an idea. I like to think of it in terms of school – if I’m going to do well on the test, I need to do my homework.

Recently, my colleagues proposed using a portion of Baltimore City’s CARES Act funding to provide one-time bonuses to employees in DPW’s Solid Waste Division. As I noted last week, this is inherently inequitable, and ignores the incredible efforts of employees across the rest of our City government providing critical services – nurses and EMTs and firefighters and parks staff – who would not receive this proposed bonus.

But my colleagues doubled down on this proposal, noting – without doing their homework – that the idea represents only “a fraction” of the $103 million from the federal government. What I wrote last week remains no less true today – we have expended or obligated in excess of $103 million on our COVID-19 response for which the federal government may reimburse the city. This money was spent providing much-needed COVID-19 supports and resources across the City.

However, because I enjoy doing my homework, I decided to take a second look – I wanted to make sure that I did not miss anything that might possibly benefit our hard-working frontline staff, including DPW’s Solid Waste Division. Maybe I’d hadn’t seen a critical piece of information that could provide dollars for this effort?

Reader, I did not. 

Even a cursory review of the Department of Treasury’s CARES Act guidance clearly illustrates this point (see page five (5), bullet point six (6)). Workforce bonuses for anything other than hazard or overtime pay – which these one-time bonuses would not qualify as – are prohibited. In other words, even if we still had the money available in the CARES Act – we don’t – we couldn’t spend it on what my colleagues have proposed.

I’d like to reiterate how much I appreciate the efforts of our frontline staff, and I look forward to finding real solutions to rewarding these efforts to ensure that we appropriately compensate and incentivize the hard-working crews in our Solid Waste Division and across City government. I look forward to working with the Mayor, the Department of Finance, and my colleagues on the City Council – even those who are a bit lax on their homework – to participate in these efforts.

I recognize that it is tough to voice unpopular truths, but it is a burden that elected officials must carry. We owe it to our constituents and to our City employees to put forward actual plans, not just Facebook posts put up “for the likes.”

And to end on a brighter note – here’s a photo of me and some neighbors throwing a pizza party for some of the DPW sanitation staff in the Southwestern Quadrant back in June, to thank them for their work in the 11th District during the pandemic. I thanked them then, and I continue to be grateful for their efforts throughout these last few months. As the Councilman for the 11th District and Chair of the City Council’s Budget & Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue to do my homework, to find ways to reward their hard work and commitment.