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County Expands Phase One Re-Opening and Announces $2 Million for Volunteer Fire & Rescue

After two-weeks of a decrease in acute care beds and a plateauing of ICU beds used for COVID-19 patients, fewer patients needing ventilators, and the delivery of 100,000 gowns, N95 masks, and gloves this week, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner announced the expansion of Phase One Re-Opening tomorrow.

Gardner noted that the 100,000 clinical gowns delivered on Tuesday were three weeks late in being delivered. The reliability of obtaining PPE continues to be a concern for handling COVID-19 patients and protecting health care workers.

The Frederick County Health Department is negotiating to open another location for testing. Frederick Health Hospital, two CVS stores, and one Wal-Mart currently offer drive-through testing.

The Frederick County Health Department has been doing contact tracing. On Friday, the State of Maryland will be adding to contact tracing capacity in Frederick County with a contractor and an application.

Gardner noted that Frederick County is making good progress on the four-pillars that are set-up and are fundamental to the road-map to recovery.

At 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29, 2020, the balance of phase one re-openings may commence with some restrictions set by the Governor.

All retail establishments may open at 50% capacity.

Hair Salons and Barber Shops may open at 50% capacity with masks worn, appointments are required, additional cleaning and sanitation, and early morning hours reserved for those who are most vulnerable.

Houses of Worship may open to indoor services with a limit of 50% capacity and a maximum of 250 people. Masks and social distancing are required. Gardner urged houses of worships to delay opening as long as possible and to ask vulnerable worshipers to participate in virtual services.

In response to Governor Larry Hogan’s expansion of openings, County Executive Jan Gardner will not add to the substantive requirements set forth by Governor Hogan and the Secretary of Health. She noted that the requirements just for Youth Day Camps is four-pages long. Gardner stated that all requirements from the state will be posted to the county’s web site.

Outside dining at restaurants, per the Governor’s order, require permitting from municipalities, the county, the health department, and the liquor board. Those restaurants already offering permitted outdoor dining may open to outside dining following the guidance from the state. The expansion or creation of outside dining areas must be approved by the various agencies. A special permit application will be available for restaurateurs on the county’s web site.

County Executive Jan Gardner announced that $2,000,000 from federal CARES funds will be reserved for the twenty-five volunteer fire and rescue companies in Frederick County. “Volunteers not only work in partnership with our career staff to provide direct services to citizens in our community, our volunteer corporations own a majority of our fire and rescue vehicles and equipment, and most of our fire stations,” Gardner stated. The cancellation of summer carnivals have severely impacted the financial health of these fire and rescue corporations. With the added costs of COVID-19 pandemic, the economic hardships impact these corporations that are integral in emergency services in Frederick County.

Gardner also announced the #LoveFrederick Initiative. She asked everyone to “show the love” by posting on social what you and your businesses are doing to #LoveFrederick. “Show your love” by protecting others and following the guidelines for wearing masks, social distancing, and more to #LoveFrederick.

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