Anne Arundel County Enacts Four Weeks Of New Restrictions To Deal With COVID-19 Outbreak | thebaynet.com | TheBayNet.com
ANNAPOLIS, Maryland – In response to the record number of COVID-19 cases reported over the past week, County Executive Steuart Pittman today announced new actions to protect public health and reduce the community spread of the disease. disease. Pittman made the announcements on live video and was joined remotely by Medical Officer of Health Dr Nilesh Kalyanaraman and senior medical officials from Johns Hopkins Medicine, Anne Arundel Medical Center and Baltimore Washington Medical Center.
The number of COVID cases is increasing across Maryland and across the country. Earlier today, Anne Arundel County reported a new high of 341 new COVID cases and a record 7-day average COVID case rate of 47.7 per 100,000 population. New guidelines from the Center for Disease Control released on Dec. 4 urged state and local leaders to issue policies restricting indoor spaces that pose the highest risk of transmission. The restrictions announced today target places and situations where people congregate indoors without masks. These actions will be effective from Wednesday, December 16 and will last four weeks, until January 13, 2021.
“These restrictions will be a burden, and I had hoped to avoid them,” County Director Pittman said. “But we cannot ignore the projected hospitalization numbers that will result from today’s case rates, nor allow those numbers to increase further with the continued spread of the community. Hospital beds are a valuable community asset, not only for COVID patients, but also for the rest of us who may well need them in the months to come. We will look back on this winter and ask ourselves if we could have done more to save lives. We must act now.
The new executive order will limit county restaurants and other dining venues to take-out or curbside pickup only, as they were in the spring during the initial wave of COVID-19. To help the restaurant industry and its workers, the Pittman County executive announced that establishments that received a grant under the $ 10 million restaurant and foodservice grant program will receive a additional payment of up to $ 7,000 by year end. Pittman also announced the county will waive annual restaurant fees due in February and pledged $ 1 million to support Feed Anne Arundel, a local restaurant partnership, the Anne Arundel County Partnership for Children, Youth & Families, Anne Arundel Connecting Together, and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation.
“COVID-19 has had a huge impact on local restaurants and Feed Anne Arundel works hard to keep restaurants open, employees at work and people fed,” said Monica Alvarado, Founder of Feed Anne Arundel. “This million dollar pledge from County Executive Pittman will help our restaurants, caterers and bed and breakfasts continue to serve the community, while maintaining the entire supply chain – employees, vendors, farmers, boatmen. , delivery drivers, warehouse staff – at work, too. “
“I want to thank all of our partners who make these aid programs work, including Arundel Community Development Corporation and Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation,” County Director Pittman said.
In addition to restrictions on restaurants, retail stores, indoor gyms and fitness centers, personal service establishments (such as nail salons) and casinos will have a maximum capacity reduced by 25%. Religious facilities will have a reduced maximum capacity to 33%, but outdoor services for Christmas, Hanukkah or other recognized religious holidays are allowed with a maximum of 250 people, provided they follow social distancing and other protocols of security.
Indoor theaters, performance halls, bingo, bowling alleys, billiard halls, roller rinks and indoor rinks will be closed. The county previously suspended organized athletics on county grounds and facilities on November 20, and today’s announcement suspends all organized sports games or practices, which include private schools and school or religious gymnasiums. .
“We are in the middle of a dangerous wave,” said Dr Nilesh Kalyanaraman. “By slowing the spread over the next few months, more people will be alive and can receive the vaccine when it becomes available. These actions will reduce the stress on our hospitals and prevent more people from getting sick.”
“COVID is caused by a respiratory virus, so, unsurprisingly, it spreads faster as winter approaches,” said Dr. Eili Klien, associate professor of emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine. “The measures we took in the summer and fall to slow the spread are not as effective now that the cold weather is here. As hospitals fill up with COVID patients, care for all patients will suffer. We know this virus spreads indoors when people are not wearing masks. If we do not slow the growth of cases, unnecessary suffering and death will occur. With the vaccines to come, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We all need to work together to get through the next few months. “
List of all new or modified actions, effective from Wednesday December 16 at 5:00 p.m. to January 13 at 8:00 a.m.
• Personal service establishments (hairdresser, nail salons, barbers) – reduced to 25% of the maximum occupancy of this establishment.
• Religious establishment – reduced to 33% of the maximum occupancy of that religious establishment. A religious establishment may organize outside services for Christmas, Hanukkah, or other recognized religious holidays with a meeting limit of 250 people maximum, provided the establishment requires strict adherence to mandatory health and safety protocols.
• Retail establishment – capacity reduced to 25%.
• Fellowship Addiction Recovery – reduced to 25% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less.
• Food service establishments located in food courts in indoor shopping malls – limited to delivery, delivery or curbside service only.
• Food and beverage establishments – limited to delivery, delivery or curbside service only. No indoor or outdoor seating is permitted.
• Food distribution sites (pantries, etc.) that serve or give free food to people in need can continue to operate subject to mandatory health and safety protocols.
• Social clubs, including American Legion stations, VFW stations, and Elks clubs, limited to 25% capacity and no food or beverage service.
• Indoor social gatherings of more than 10 people remain prohibited. Outdoor social gatherings of more than 25 people remain prohibited.
- “Social gatherings” do not include activities, facilities or places that have a specific capacity limit or that are ordered to be closed under this Local Executive Decree No. 39.
- “Social gatherings” include family reunions, parties, barbecues, parades, festivals, conventions, fundraisers, flea markets, yard sales and other gatherings that are not associated with the event. ‘operating or attending a business that sells goods from a location with a posted maximum occupancy.
• All organized sports games or practices are suspended, including private schools and school or church gymnasiums.
• Fitness centers are limited to 25% of their capacity and cannot organize group fitness classes or activities; all staff and clients must wear face coverings at all times.
• Gaming facilities (casinos) are limited to 25% of their capacity and no alcohol or food service except for take out, delivery or curbside service.
• Indoor cinemas are closed.
• Indoor or outdoor venues for live shows are closed.
• Bingo, bowling alleys, billiard halls, roller rinks and indoor rinks must close.
• All outdoor sports venues, including professional, semi-professional, amateur, recreational, college, high school and motorsport venues, are closed.
• Adult entertainment venues are closed.
• Cigar and hookah lounges are closed but may sell products at retail.
• Local annual license fees for catering establishments are waived and deemed paid for calendar year 2021.
The county executive will sign an executive order implementing the new restrictions later today. The executive order and an updated version of the county’s Frequently Asked Questions document will be available shortly at https://www.aacounty.org/coronavirus/road-to-recovery.