COVID-19 Update: Prince George’s County Continues Moving Forward
Dear Prince Georgians:
I am proud of your continued work to protect each other from COVID-19 by wearing face coverings and practicing physical distancing. We continue to move forward with our County’s recovery, and I am excited to share a number of new programs and campaigns we are launching that will benefit our community.
This week, our Office of Central Services launched two programs that will support our business community. The first is the Green Book opportunities guide, an agency-by-agency overview of County Government procurement opportunities. The Green Book will help small and local businesses better navigate the procurement process by presenting all opportunities within a single, digital guide.
This is part of the Office of Central Services’ new “Business Highway,” an online portal which houses a comprehensive suite of online business capacity building platforms for the County’s small and diverse suppliers. In addition to the Green Book, The Business Highway contains the County’s online vendor certification system, CCS, and a toolkit with key documents and training modules to support County small businesses. The Office of Central Services is preparing to launch an e-procurement system later this year which will also be part of this portal.
In addition to these programs, we are launching a new campaign to help voters in our County understand the election process for the 2020 General Election. Our “Proud to Vote” campaign seeks to educate voters on their options for voting in the upcoming elections, ensuring they can make their voices heard safely during the midst of this pandemic.
I want to stress that, unlike the 2020 Primary Election, mail-in ballots will not be automatically mailed to voters. If you wish to vote by mail, which we strongly encourage, you must request your mail-in ballot. The State has mailed applications to all registered voters, but if you do not wish to wait to receive that in the mail, you can request your mail-in ballot online here or text VBM to 77788. Remember, all requests must be received by the County Board of Elections by October 20, 2020. More information about the election process is included below.
We also launched a social media campaign to support local Black-owned businesses during National Black Business Month. Black-owned businesses across the nation have been hit particularly hard by this pandemic, so we want to use our Buy Prince George’s Initiative to celebrate, promote and support our local Black-owned businesses. Business owners and residents are encouraged to use the hashtag #BlackOwnedPGC to promote and support their favorite business.
Our Economic Development Corporation and Experience Prince George’s will be monitoring social media and promoting local businesses that use #BlackOwnedPGC, as well as adding them to the County’s list of local businesses available through the Buy Prince George’s Initiative. Residents will also be able to use this hashtag to search for, follow and support local Black-owned businesses now and in the future.
I am proud of the ways we continue to lift each other up as a community, and I know that we will continue moving Prince George’s County forward, together.
Yours in service,
Prince George’s County Executive
Proud to Vote in Prince George’s County
As Election Day rapidly approaches, we want to make sure that every resident has a plan to safely cast their ballot in this historic 2020 election. In order to protect our residents and election administrators, Prince George’s County is strongly encouraging voters to vote by mail in the 2020 General Election. Voters need to request their mail-in ballot (your ballot will not be mailed automatically as in the Primary Election), so we are also urging voters to fill out a ballot application and request a mail-in ballot as soon as possible.
The State Board of Elections mailed ballot applications to all registered voters this week, so registered voters should be receiving those in the mail soon. If completing a paper application received in the mail, please remember to fill it out completely and legibly, sign it, and then return it in the prepaid envelope provided. Voters can also request a mail-in ballot by going online to elections.mypgc.us or elections.maryland.gov, or by texting VBM to 77788.
Finally, voters can complete and return a mail-in ballot application in person at the County Board of Elections, or drop off a completed application received in the mail. The County Board of Elections is open Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, and is located at 1100 Mercantile Ln, Suite 115A, Largo, MD 20774.
All ballot requests must be received in the Prince George’s County Board of Elections office by Tuesday, October 20, 2020. Actual ballots will be mailed by the end of September. Also, if you are not yet registered to vote, be sure you do so by October 13, 2020. Please visit elections.maryland.gov to register online or call 301-341-7300 to receive a voter registration form.
Voters will be able to return mail-in ballots via secure drop boxes that will be set up across the County. Once those locations are finalized, we will provide an update to the community. In addition, voters who wish to vote in person can do so during Early Voting from October 26-November 2, or on Election Day on November 3. Once the County’s Voting Centers have been approved by the State Board of Elections, we will provide an update to the community.
Text-to-911 Launches Statewide
Earlier this year, County Executive Alsobrooks announced that Prince George’s County residents had the ability to text 911. Now, Text-to-911 is available statewide for all Marylanders. You can use it for any reason if you are in need of emergency services and unable to place a call. If utilizing Text-to-911, please do not send emojis, photos, videos or links, and please refrain from using slang or abbreviations. English is the preferred language for text messaging, as limited translation services are available at this time.
Stand Up & Deliver – Week of August 31
We are continuing to work hard to address food insecurity in our County, and we want to provide information on next week’s grocery distribution locations for our Stand Up & Deliver program.
Friday, September 4 12:30 PM
- Port Towns Elementary School – 4351 58th Avenue, Bladensburg, MD
- St. Paul Church – 6419 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD
- Mt. Ennon Baptist Church – 9832 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD
Saturday, September 5 at 11:00 AM
- Ebenezer Church of God – 7550 Buchanan Street, Landover Hills, MD
- First Baptist Church of Highland Park – 6801 Sheriff Road, Landover, MD
Sunday, September 6 at 10:00 AM
- Community of Hope A.M.E. Church – 3737 Branch Avenue, Temple Hills, MD
Additional food distribution locations can be found on our website by clicking here. This map is updated regularly. Also, if you are able to make a contribution to Stand Up & Deliver to help us support Prince Georgians in need, please click here to donate.
Emerge Stronger Program for County Businesses
Emerge Stronger was created to provide direct technical assistance, business operations, and financial management tools for Prince George’s County’s small businesses. While immediate COVID-19 relief funding is critical to maintaining small business operations, technical assistance is vital to improving short-term recovery odds and post-pandemic resilience. The Emerge Stronger program begins September 3 and will include several key components that will support small businesses as they work to recover from this pandemic. There will also be sessions in Spanish for our Latino business community.
Seats are limited and businesses that applied for the County’s Business Recovery Initiative will be given first priority. For more information and to register, please click here.
WMATA Increases Metrobus Services
WMATA ramped up services for Metrobus on Sunday, August 23, restoring nearly 75% of service in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. Customers now have more options at more times on more routes. Learn more from WMATA here.
County Health Department Retesting Policy
Retests are available at our Health Department’s COVID-19 testing sites. Currently, to get more than one test at a County-operated site, residents must have a known or suspected exposure to a positive case, have symptoms of COVID-19, or be part of a County contact tracing investigation and have been directed to be tested. Otherwise, an on-site nurse will consider retesting requests on a case-by-case basis. Learn more about COVID-19 testing through our County Health Department here.
COVID-19 Scam Alert
Recently, Pepco has seen an increase in reports of individuals calling Pepco customers and falsely claiming their electric or gas service will be disconnected unless payment is made. These impersonators instruct customers to buy a prepaid credit card and call back to a different phone number with the personal identification number (PIN) or other personal information. We want to remind residents to watch out for scammers trying to take advantage of the pandemic and your trust. Visit Pepco’s website for more information.
County News For You
TheBus Ramps Up Service
Monday, August 24, 2020, Prince George’s County ramped up service on TheBus. These modifications align with service increases the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) implemented on Sunday, August 23, 2020. TheBus will increase frequencies from 60 minutes to 30 to 40 minutes on bus lines in operation during COVID-19 service reductions. Certain lines will also have service restored. Although the TheBus is still operating at reduced levels, these enhancements will enable residents, especially essential workers, to better connect to regional services. Learn more about these updates here.
Civic Associations Town Hall Meeting
Join the Prince George’s County Office of Community Relations as they partner with the Health Department to host a virtual town hall meeting for all civic associations on Tuesday, September 1 at 6:30 PM. They will be providing important updates on the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 Election process. Residents can join by visiting https://zoom.us/join and entering the following information:
Meeting ID: 892 9247 8707
Guidance on Evictions and Foreclosures
Per an Executive Order by Governor Hogan, Maryland residents cannot be evicted during the COVID-19 state of emergency if they have suffered a substantial loss in income due to the pandemic. Several organizations are providing free legal advice and representation to those who may be facing the threat of eviction at this time.
Maryland Legal Aid offers a number of legal services for Marylanders, and you can learn more about their services here. Community Legal Services of Prince George’s County has compiled a number of resources for tenants and offers free legal representation for those who qualify. You can learn more about their services here. Finally, our Department of Housing & Community Development has put together guidance and resources on foreclosures, which can be found online here.
Voting – Democracy in Action
The Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission and Prince George’s County Memorial Library System invite you to join them at 7:00 PM on Monday, August 31 for “Voting – Democracy in Action.” Dr. Richard Bell, professor of History at the University of Maryland, and Daneen Banks from the Prince George’s County Board of Elections will share a timely and important conversation about the history of the fight for voting rights in the United States, as well as updates on the election process for the 2020 General Election. Register for this free virtual event here.
Conversation with Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds
Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jason Reynolds joins Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) CEO Roberta Phillips in a conversation on September 1, 2020 at 7:00 PM. Reynolds, who grew up in Oxon Hill, is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, a Newbery Award Honoree, a Printz Award Honoree, a two-time National Book Award finalist, a Kirkus Award winner, a two-time Walter Dean Myers Award winner, an NAACP Image Award Winner, and the recipient of multiple Coretta Scott King honors. This event is brought to you by PGCMLS, the Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission, and the Prince George’s Community College Center for the Performing Arts. Tune in here.
DPIE Business Development Section Assists Local Businesses
PJ’s Coffee owners Tyra and Michael Harris visit their restaurant in February during construction.
The Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement’s (DPIE) Business Development Section (BDS) helps entrepreneurs navigate the permitting and licensing process as they work to open their businesses. They offer YouTube webinars, a monthly newsletter and other tools to simplify the various permitting functions. They also provide information about resources outside DPIE available to assist entrepreneurs, such as the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).
The team recently assisted the newly-opened PJ’s Coffee in Bowie. PJ’s, located in the Fairwood Shopping Center at 12530 Fairwood Parkway, is among the many local Black-owned businesses being celebrated during National Black Business Month. BDS Officer Tanya Hedgepeth provided the owners of PJ’s, Michael and Tyra Harris, with guidance on preparation for permit and plan submittal and inspections for their restaurant.
For more information about DPIE’s Business Development Section, email DPIEBIZDEV@co.pg.md.us.
Public Hearings for I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study Draft Environmental Impact Statement
The Maryland State Highway Administration has held several virtual joint public hearings for the I-495 & I-270 Managed Lanes Study Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The last virtual session will be held on September 3. This is an opportunity for residents to voice their thoughts and concerns on this study. For more information and to register, please click here.
In The News
Prince George’s Forward Task Force
The Prince George’s Forward Task Force, created by the County Executive to help guide the County’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, recently submitted 47 recommendations to the County Executive as part of their initial work to move the County forward. Learn more about the work of the Forward Task Force in a story from WJLA here.
Prince George’s County Launches Campaign to Support Local Black-Owned Businesses
We are Prince George’s Proud of all of our County businesses, which is why we want to be sure they can recover from this pandemic stronger than ever before. During National Black Business Month, we are excited to lift up the Black-owned businesses in our County. See WTOP’s recent story about our campaign here.
Prince George’s Proud Moments
Supporting Prince Georgians in Need
County Executive Alsobrooks hands meals and school supplies to County residents.
We are proud of all the community partners who make it possible for us to assist residents in need during these difficult times. On Saturday, August 22, County Executive Alsobrooks joined with our Office of Community Relations to distribute school supplies, meals and information about the 2020 Census. We want to thank everyone who donated school supplies and backpacks to the County’s Stuff TheBus campaign, as those items were distributed at this event.
On Monday, August 24, County Executive Alsobrooks and her senior leadership team distributed groceries to residents through the County’s Stand Up & Deliver program. We want to thank SodexoMAGIC for donating the grocery boxes that were distributed at this event. Prince Georgians continue to show that we always look out for one another and lift each other up.
Celebrating Local Black-Owned Businesses
To celebrate the County’s Black-owned businesses, our Economic Development Corporation has been featuring local businesses through their “Takeout Tuesday” series. They also put together a short video that features some of our local Black-owned businesses. Watch that video here, and don’t forget to like their Facebook page to learn more about some of our amazing local businesses.
Reminders About Census Enumerators
Census enumerators from the U.S. Census Bureau will be knocking on doors to ensure everyone gets counted in the 2020 Census. Remember that Census employees will never ask you for money, for your immigration status or for your Social Security number, and they will carry identification. They are only going to homes that have not yet completed the 2020 Census, but there is still time to complete your Census without waiting for a knock at your door. Simply take 10 minutes and go online to my2020census.gov, or call 1-844-330-2020.