Local businesses advised on virus restrictions

Rob Mulford from Market Street Inn Restaurant & Pub, left, and Joel Olive from MoJo’s, participated Tuesday in the Mayor’s Emergency Business Roundtable, where they stressed the urgency of supporting our local restaurants during the Coronavirus disruption. All bars and restaurants have been ordered closed.

Bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms were added to the list of closings as state and local officials work to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Gov. Larry Hogan also announced Tuesday that he is moving the Maryland Primary Election from April 28 to June 2, saying he had to consider public safety while also protecting the right to vote.

Additionally, the Preakness will likely be rescheduled to September, he said during a news conference in Annapolis.

On Monday,  the governor ordered bars, restaurants, movie theaters and gyms to close until further notice, but restaurants can continue to provide carryout, drive-through and delivery services. Hogan said the move was necessary after many people seemingly ignored warnings about social distancing and continued to pack bars and restaurants.

Essential services such as grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and gas stations will remain open.

Stores in Salisbury were experiencing shortages of some goods as people began stocking up as they went into shelter-in-place mode. Sam’s Club was out of toilet paper and other paper products, and the meat case was all but bare on Monday morning. Acme also had run out toilet paper and most fresh seafood. However, both stores seemed to be well-stocked with most other items.

The governor’s executive order also prohibits all social, religious, community, sports and recreation events with 50 people or more – a move in line with recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This is going to be much harder, take much longer and be much worse than almost anyone is currently understanding,” Hogan said.

Over the weekend, the governor also ordered the closing of all casinos, racetracks and off track betting.

In Salisbury, Mayor Jake Day announced the city will reduce noncritical operations and many employees will work from home. Citizens should not visit city offices other than emergency visits to the police station or one of the fire stations.

“The situation that we face in the weeks and month ahead will require a coming-together and a renewed spirit of cooperation and citizenship the likes of which we have not seen in generations,” Day said.

Day hosted an online business roundtable on Tuesday with other local leaders to discuss the virus’ effects on businesses. The impact of the shutdowns seemed to have had the biggest impact on the hospitality industry, Bill Chambers, president and CEO of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, said during the event.

Rob Mulford, owner of Market Street Inn and Mojo’s who attended the roundtable, said he planned to meet Wednesday with his employees to discuss how the eateries will continue to operate with curbside pickups and deliveries of food.

“It’s the unknown for everybody,” Mulford said.

Chambers said his office is compiling a list of local restaurants and the services they will be offering, including carryout, curbside pickup and delivery. The list will be available on the Chamber of Commerce website.

The city is working on a similar list of Downtown small businesses, said Laura Soper, Salisbury’s Director of Business Development.

On Monday, Wicomico County Executive Bob Culver issued a Declaration of Emergency effective Tuesday, March 17, at 8 a.m. which includes the closure of the Government Office Building.

Peninsula Regional Medical Center has established a COVID-19 triage tent adjacent to the walk-in entrance of its Emergency Trauma Center. A nurse, positioned outside the emergency department 24 hours a day, seven days a week, will greet all patients and ask them a series of questions about their health. Those include recent contact with a person confirmed to have COVID-19 and are they symptomatic with fever, cough and/or shortness of breath. If determined that the person is at risk, they will be escorted to the triage tent for further evaluation by a healthcare professional. If they are not considered at risk, they will be allowed entrance into the emergency department for care. The tent is not for general COVID-19 screenings. It has been erected specifically for patients meeting the screening criteria.

The Wicomico County Health Department continues to work closely with the community to prepare for possible COVID-19 cases on the Lower Shore. A call center is now open for general information on COVID-19 as well as information for local physicians. Physicians and residents can contact the call center at 410-341-4600 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m.

Maryland reported 57 positive coronavirus cases as of Tuesday – a 54 percent jump over the day before — including one person in Talbot County. Most of the cases so far are in Montgomery and Prince Georges counties. Hogan said there are more than 130 positive cases reported in the Washington metro area, which includes Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Schools

Maryland public schools closed Monday, March 16, and will remain shuttered Friday, March 27. During the time of school closure, all school buildings and school buses are being cleaned and disinfected to prevent spread of the virus upon the return of students and staff to school.

As of Monday, the Maryland State Board of Education has the capability to provide three meals a day and a snack to students impacted by the statewide closure of schools, the governor said.

Statewide actions

·       The Maryland Department of Health will work to reopen closed hospital facilities to add up to 6,000 more beds.

·       Shutoffs of electric, gas, water, sewage, phone, cable TV, and internet services are prohibited.

·       Evictions are prohibited of any tenant who can show that their failure to pay rent was the result of COVID-19

·       The Maryland National Guard has been activated by executive order.

·       All state employees who are authorized to telework will do so.

·       Public access to state buildings, including the State House, will be restricted.

·       Gatherings of more than 250 people in close proximity are prohibited.

·       All senior centers are closed.

·       Prisons will suspend visits.

Here are the latest closings and other information from around Wicomico County:

Events

·       Rob’s Run for Kids at EVO Public House on Saturday March 21, and the 17th annual Tim Kennard River Run at Salisbury University on Sunday, March 22, are canceled.  Pre-registrations will be automatically deferred to the 2021 Tim Kennard River Run, at a date to be determined in March 2021.

·       The annual Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition & Art Festival, which was to be held April 24-26 in Ocean City has been canceled. 

·       The Wicomico Youth & Civic Center has canceled all public events scheduled through Sunday, March 29. Coastal Kids Consignment Sale, Krendl Magic Dinner & Show, Aspire to Succeed & Lead Women’s Conference and the Faith Filled Women Conference will be rescheduled. The Indoor Community Yard Sale, Potomac Youth Conference and Wicomico County Suitcase Party have been canceled. The facility itself will remain open. Those who have scheduled small private events during this timeframe should contact the Civic Center event manager.

·        The Salisbury Marathon and RunSBY Festival are cancelled. All registrations are deferred to the 2021 RunSBY Festival. Questions should be directed to sbymarathon@gmail.com.

·       3rd Friday Indoors on March 20 has been canceled.

·       The Average Joe’s 0.5k will be rescheduled to a date to be determined.

·       The Hops on the River event will be rescheduled to a date to be determined.

·       The Census 2020 Neighborhood Walk will be rescheduled to a date to be determined.

·       The 2020 SVN Commercial Real Estate Forum on March 20 has been postponed. The event will tentatively be rescheduled this summer.

·       The Greater Salisbury Committee canceled two public events: A forum scheduled Monday at the Ward Museum, featuring Delaware U.S. Sen. Chris Coons will be rescheduled; a public interview event planned March 27 with members of the Perdue Farms family has been canceled.

Church services

·       The Most Rev. W. Francis Malooly, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington, has dispensed the Catholic faithful of the Diocese of Wilmington from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Additionally, all diocesan and parish Catholic schools and religious education programs, in Delaware and Maryland’s Eastern Shore, will be closed or canceled for two weeks beginning Monday, March 16. As of now, schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, March 30. All CYM Sports events have been canceled until further notice.

·       St. Peter’s Episcopal Church canceled public worship on Sunday, March 15, and Sunday, March 22, and daily prayer in the church is suspended until further notice. The church is also cancelling the March 25 Evensong service.  

·       Oak Ridge Baptist Church has canceled all services at the church building, but will live steam worship services until further notice.

City of Salisbury

·       All youth and Community Center programming is suspended from Monday, March 16, through Friday, March 27, or until public schools reopen to students.

·       All events permitted by the city through Easter Sunday, April 12, are canceled. No city support services will be provided to these events and no leases of city property during that time period will be honored. Deposits will be returned, if requested, or held for a rescheduled date.

·       All public safety services remain unchanged.

·       All critical public services, including trash and recycling, water and sewer services remain unchanged.

·       Utilities will not conduct water shutoffs for unpaid bills for the duration of the State of Emergency. Water shutoff for unpaid water bills will resume no earlier than 30 days after the State of Emergency is lifted.

·       Municipal parking lots will be free of charge until further notice. Parking enforcement will continue for on-street, metered spaces, and permitted lots and spaces.

·       March’s free bulk pick-up will be postponed until a later date, to be determined.

·       Until further notice, job applications, and requests for information on compensation or benefits from the City of Salisbury Human Resources Department should be accessed remotely at 833-SBY-CITY, jobs@salisbury.md, https://salisbury.md/departments/human-resources.

·       Until further notice, permit applications, document submissions and correspondence with the City of Salisbury Department of Infrastructure & Development should be accessed remotely at 833-SBY-CITY, mailto:infdev@salisbury.md, https://salisbury.md/departments/infrastructure-development.

·       Until further notice bill payment to the City of Salisbury Finance Department should be completed remotely at 833-SBY-CITY, finance@salisbury.md, https://salisbury.md/departments/finance/pay.

·       As of this release, City Council meetings are scheduled to continue without interruption.

·       All city of Salisbury Boards, Commissions, Advisory Committees and Task Force meetings are canceled. Task Forces may continue to meet remotely.

·       All city of Salisbury employee work travel out of state is canceled during the period of the State of Emergency and all personal travel out of state is discouraged.

Wicomico County

·       All county departments will operate with essential staff only.  All county offices will be closed to the public including the Civic Center and Tourism-Welcome Center, effective, Monday, March 16, 2020 at 5 pm. 

·       The Government Office Building will have drop off bins located in the main first floor foyer to drop off mail and other essential documents for county staff. 

·       The Newland Park Landfill and convenience centers will remain open normal hours to allow for trash removal to continue. 

·       Upper Ferry and Whitehaven Ferry will be closed.

·       The County Council will hold its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, March 17, at 10:00 am.  This will be broadcast as usual on PAC-14. The public may send meeting comments to Laura Hurley, Council Administrator at lhurley@wicomicocounty.org

·       The health department’s COVID-19 call center can be reached at 410-341-4600. Do not call 911 except in emergencies.                                     

Salisbury University

·       All activities at Salisbury University are canceled until further notice, and campus buildings are closed to the public, effective immediately. Spring athletics also are suspended until further notice.

·       The producers of ABC-TV’s Shark Tank have postponed all of its 2020 casting calls, including the one scheduled Saturday, April 18, at Salisbury University.

Peninsula Regional Medical Center

An enhanced COVID-19 Patient Safety and Visitation Policy is in effect at the hospital. The changes include: 

·       No visitors under the age of 18 unless they are parents of hospitalized children.  This includes infants and siblings across all areas of the hospitals.

·       Limit of one visitor per patient.  Only one person may accompany a patient into the hospital or into any of PRHS’s physician offices or immediate care centers. Additional visitors will not be permitted in the building and may not stay in lobbies or waiting areas. They may visit, but only after the first person has completed their visit and left the building.

·       Visitors are required to check in at the front desk of any location.

·       Visitors may be screened for flu-like symptoms.  Those exhibiting symptoms will be asked to leave and referred to their primary care provider.  They will not be allowed to visit.

·       If screening questions determine a visitor has traveled internationally, they will not be allowed to visit patients until after 14 days back in the United States.

·       Labor and Delivery will be restricted to two visitors including the professional support person/post-partum helper.

·       Visiting hours are restricted to noon until 8 p.m.

The hospital also announced other changes:

·       The Junior Auxiliary Board Shop near the Guerrieri Heart & Vascular Institute will be closing Monday and will remain closed for an indefinite period of time.

·       The Junior Board Café at PRMC near the Hanna Outpatient Center will offer take out only. All seating and tables will be removed.

·       The delivery of flowers, balloons and other gifts to patients and staff is being suspended temporarily as of Monday. 

Wicomico County Library

·       Wicomico County Public Library branches and the bookmobile are closed until Friday, March 27.

Circuit Court

·       The Circuit Court for Wicomico will be closed to the public except in emergency circumstances through Friday, April 3.

·       The offices of the Clerk of Court and the Register of Wills will be closed to the public. Drop boxes will be placed in the atrium entrance of the Circuit Court Complex to allow self represented litigants to file pleadings as necessary. Call the clerk’s office at 410-543-6551 with questions.

·       Scheduled hearings will proceed with the exception of jury trials which are postponed.

·       Employees of the Circuit Court, whether state or locally funded, are to report to work as scheduled unless they are ill or otherwise on scheduled leave.

Senior centers and services

  • All senior centers in Maryland have been closed indefinitely.
  • MAC’s Life Bridges Program activities also will be closed indefinitely.
  • Tax preparation assistance appointments scheduled for Tuesdays have been cancelled. People are encouraged to find other resources to get their taxes done.
  • Home-delivered meals will continue normal operation.
  • MAC programs including case management, ombudsman, guardianship and health insurance counseling will continue.

Helpful Coronavirus links

Maryland Department of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

Have a question about the coronavirus? Submit it to our newsroom and we’ll ask the appropriate public officials.


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