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Dear Prince Georgians:
Today, Governor Larry Hogan issued a stay-at-home order, which takes effect tonight at 8 PM and provides that no Marylander should leave their home except for an essential job or for an essential reason like visiting your doctor.
I know there are many questions surrounding the statewide stay-at-home directive. I wanted to reach out to make sure you know that all of the steps we have taken to ensure the health and well-being of our residents are not changing. For instance, students can pick up their meals at the designated meal sites, food delivery to our residents who are in need of assistance will continue, trash will still be picked up, and you can still take a walk outside while practicing social distancing.
The statewide order provides that you can *only* leave your homes for essential reasons such as picking up medicine, visiting your doctor, or getting food. While you can go for a walk, you may not gather in groups, you may not play pick-up basketball games, and you may not go places for non-essential reasons. On March 23rd, Governor Hogan ordered all non-essential businesses in the County to shut down and that order still stands.
Bottom line, it is absolutely critical that you stay home. The Governor’s executive order does give law enforcement the power to enforce the order and anyone found in violation could be charged with a misdemeanor that could result in a fine or even jail time. This order is a life-saving measure, and I ask that every Prince Georgian comply to help us stop the spread of this indiscriminate virus.
I know this virus has dramatically changed our way of life for the moment, but we are strong, and together we can and will get through this. COVID-19 will not have the final say. For more information about the Governor’s stay-at-home directive, click here.
We also want to provide you with the latest updates on County Government operations, some of which are reminders from our update last week, and others, which are new changes to services and operations.
Public safety agencies, including our Police Department, our Fire and EMS Department, our Department of Corrections, and the Office of the Sheriff, will remain operational to ensure the safety of our residents and those in our custody.
For non-violent crime reports, the Prince George’s County Police Department is taking specific reports over the phone, rather than in-person. Residents wishing to report a crime should still call 911 as usual.
The Fire/EMS Department is responding to all 911 calls for service.
Domestic violence will not be tolerated during this difficult time. The Office of the Sheriff is responding to 911 domestic violence emergency calls for service in Police District III and Police District VIII. In addition, the Office of the Sheriff continues to serve peace and protective orders throughout the County. The Special Victim Assistants (SVAs) in the Office of the Sheriff are still available to support victims of domestic violence and can be reached at 301-780-8426.
The District Court Commissioner’s Office in both Upper Marlboro and Hyattsville are still open 24/7 and they are still accepting and issuing domestic violence petitions.
The Family Justice Center is closed to the public, but services are still available by phone during normal business hours. Please call 301-780-8008 and an intake specialist will follow-up with you.
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) buildings remain closed until further notice. However, PGCMLS is offering many ways to engage online. Prince Georgians can access eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music, and educational tools via 85+ online resources, Digital Suite, Creative Suite, Homework Support Suite, and Discovery Suite. Virtual programs for all ages are offered daily. Drive-up WiFi is available 24/7 outside of all library branches (signal strength may vary). Library cards can be renewed online. The Library also wants your input on shaping online programs via the Online Library Survey. Survey responses are due on Friday, April 10, 2020.
Our Department of the Environment will continue to provide trash, recycling and yard trim collection services on schedule. Convenience Center Drop-Off locations will remain open as well for the public. However, all bulky trash collections are suspended and will be rescheduled at a later date.
The Animal Services Facility and Adoption Center remains operational but closed to the public. The Facility will still handle emergency calls for service from residents, and those calls can be placed at 301-780-7200.
The main office of the Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development, the Housing Authority of Prince George’s County and the Redevelopment Authority of Prince George’s County, are closed to the public but open for business via telephone, internet and e-mail. A staff directory, with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses, is located on the agency webpage.
The Housing Authority’s Rental Assistance Division is continuing to process certification and recertification applications. In addition, the Chief Judge of the Maryland Special Court of Appeals has suspended all residential and commercial evictions and foreclosures until Friday, May 1, 2020.
The Department of Social Services’ buildings are closed, but they will still process benefits applications, visit youth in care, and conduct investigations related to the abuse and neglect of children and vulnerable adults. For more information, visit their website here.
Our Department of Family Services, in conjunction with our Department of Public Works and Transportation, will continue to provide meal deliveries to seniors who are already part of existing delivery programs, including the Senior Nutrition Program.
In addition to senior meal delivery services, our Department of Public Works and Transportation continues to operate essential para-transit services, including medical appointments, trips for dialysis patients, and senior trips for grocery shopping. They will also maintain critical repairs of County roads, bridges and traffic signals.
Our County’s bus system, TheBus, continues to operate under reduced service, with service suspended on routes 11, 12, 14, 15x, 21x, 22, 23, 25, 27, 34, 35s, 51 and 53. TheBus will modify service on 4 bus lines (13, 26, 28, and 37) effective Tuesday, March 31, 2020. You will not be charged to ride TheBus while services have been reduced. More information about service for TheBus can be found here.
Our 311 Call Center remains operational and will continue to take calls to address issues. However, due to the suspension of bulky trash collection, they will not be scheduling future bulky trash pickup dates at this time. The 311 Call Center is open Monday-Friday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
Our Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement will continue providing essential review of licenses and permits as well as essential inspection functions.
Over the past week, the Office of Central Services (OCS) has provided enhanced cleaning of our government facilities in response to COVID-19. Deep-cleaning services for buildings both used by the public and County employees has begun. Over the next week, OCS will disinfect nearly 2 million square feet of building space. Assigned facilities staff for each building will be on hand to open offices and allow cleaning crews to disinfect.
The Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission has halted in-person appointments. Their efforts to fight discrimination and ensure Prince George’s County is a welcoming place for all who live, work, and play here will continue. If you have a complaint of discrimination and would like to schedule an intake appointment to discuss your complaint, please call 240-695-7220. All intake appointments will be conducted by phone or via video conference until further notice.
The Revenue Authority of Prince George’s County has been closed to all in-person visits, but all agency personnel can be reached by email or telephone, and residential parking public hearings will continue over teleconference. All Revenue Authority programs will continue to operate despite the closure.
Finally, our Health Department will continue to operate, providing essential health and wellness services in addition to its work on containing this pandemic. If you would like to see a full list of County Government closures and modifications to government operations, please click here.
For our employees who continue to work to provide these essential functions and programs, we are ensuring that the proper precautions and procedures are put in place and the appropriate equipment is provided for their safety and well-being. This includes continuing to maintain the telework operations we already put in place. Those essential employees who are keeping the government running during this time will be compensated with paid leave.
I also wanted to share that testing for COVID-19 began today at the FedExField parking lot. This screening site is designed to alleviate the pressure on hospitals and health care facilities that will likely increase in the coming weeks due to COVID-19. Those who normally go to hospitals or emergency rooms to receive primary health care are highly encouraged to seek a telehealth appointment through the Prince George’s County Health Department if they believe they have been exposed and are exhibiting symptoms associated with this virus.
This site is primarily a screening area that will have limited testing capabilities for those people who meet stringent CDC testing guidelines.This site is accessible by appointment only, and the process is as follows:
Please note that walkups exhibiting no symptoms will not be tested. Those with prescriptions from primary care physicians or other health care providers will still need to make an appointment through the Prince George’s Health Department’s COVID-19 Hotline and telehealth services by calling 301-883-6627.
The clinic will be primarily staffed by Prince George’s County Health Department officials with support from the Maryland Department of Health, the Maryland National Guard, the Maryland Medical Reserve Corps, and the University of Maryland Medical System. We want to thank our Health Department, Governor Hogan, the Maryland Department of Health, University of Maryland Medical System and the Washington Redskins for ensuring this prototype screening facility was able to be built, as it will be a model for other screening facilities across our State.
We also have additional updates from Governor Hogan to share. School closures have been extended to April 24, 2020. Dr. Goldson and her team have come up with a plan to ensure continuity of learning, which can be found online here. Child care centers were ordered to be closed on March 27, except for those centers providing child care to essential workers as designated by Governor Hogan.
Essential workers are those in areas such as healthcare, law enforcement, and government. The State is opening child care centers for essential workers at no cost. Essential workers who wish to find a child care provider should visit the Maryland State Department of Education website, which contains instructions on how to apply and a list of essential workers as designated by Governor Hogan. Eligible programs can also be found by calling 877-261-0060, Monday-Friday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
As we continue confronting this crisis, we are asking residents to please continue to stay informed, either by visiting our County Government website (mypgc.us) or by calling our coronavirus hotline at 301-883-6627, available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily.
We are facing an unprecedented crisis and, very sadly, we have already lost lives. We must work together and do everything in our power to keep our families and community healthy and safe. Together, we will make it through this crisis.
Yours in service,
Prince George’s County Executive