COVID-19 Update: Prince George’s County Remains in Phase 2 Reopening
Dear Prince Georgians:
Yesterday I announced that Prince George’s County will remain in phase 2 reopening since the County’s key metrics have not stabilized at low-enough levels. This decision was made under the advice of our County health officials after analyzing COVID-19 data and trends over the past two weeks.
Preliminary data for last week shows the County’s positivity rate has increased to 4.2%, after hitting a low of 3.5% for the week of September 20. The fluctuation is concerning, but the County has now been under a 5% positivity rate for three straight weeks. The County’s infection rate briefly dropped below 1.0 before increasing again, sitting at exactly 1.0 as of September 28. This means that the virus is spreading in the County in a slow but controlled manner.
Finally, the County’s average daily case rate last week was 11.5 new cases per day per 100,000 residents, which is an increase from the week of September 20 where the average daily case rate dropped to 10.1. Our health officials want this number to stabilize to at least under 10 new cases per day.
However, I am excited to announce that drive-in movie theaters will be able to open with requirements starting Friday, October 16 at 5:01 PM. In order to open, drive-in theaters must apply for a permit and submit plans that will be approved by the County’s COVID-19 Compliance Team. Those who wish to host a drive-in theater should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to submit opening plans for approval.
The County is also not moving forward with several guidelines issued by Governor Hogan last week. Because the County remains in phase 2, and out of an abundance of caution, indoor visitations at nursing home facilities will not resume. Also, childcare facilities will not be able to raise their children-to-teacher ratios past the current limits in place, and parents/guardians must still coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups outside the facility. We will continue to rely on science and the advice of our health officials to determine when it will be safe for the County to move to a modified phase 3 reopening, and we will share another update in two to three weeks.
As we work to limit the spread of this virus, we have also been working diligently to address issues that have arisen at National Harbor this summer. As some may have noticed, there have been large groups of young people who have been dropped off or taken a rideshare to the Harbor and have created an environment that is unwelcoming to many families and residents who are there to shop, dine and enjoy the atmosphere. We also know that parents have been renting hotel rooms for minors for parties and leaving them there unaccompanied.
I want to be clear that this behavior cannot continue. Early last month, we launched an effort combining our COVID-19 Ambassador Compliance Team, County agencies and National Harbor businesses to come up with a strategy to address these issues. We have increased law enforcement on weekends, which has helped keep the crowds dispersed and we have also been able to identify and shut down hotel parties.
We understand that COVID-19 has created a situation where there are many young people left with little to do at home, and while it’s not yet safe to resume school sports, we have worked with our Department of Parks and Recreation to ensure there are safe activities for young people to participate in.
For those young people who enjoy sports, the Department of Parks and Recreation has made a number of youth sports available this fall, and registration is now open. You can find more information and register for those opportunities here. There are also plenty of opportunities outside of youth sports available for young people as well. These include classes on video game design, gaming tournaments, arts and crafts, fitness classes and more. You can find all these opportunities in the 2020 Fall Guide here.
The Department of Parks and Recreation is also putting basketball hoops back up at certain facilities maintained by the Department. They will be outdoor locations and only half courts. At this time, we are allowing only drills or practice that is socially distanced. No pick-up games or impromptu tournaments should be taking place, and we will be monitoring these courts to ensure these guidelines are being followed. All of these opportunities should give our young people additional outlets to stay engaged.
I also provided an update on guidance for Halloween, which I know is a favorite time of year for so many of our residents. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we are strongly advising against traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, large street parties or festivals, and hay rides. While we have to make adjustments this year, there are still ways you can create a safe and enjoyable experience for your family. We have some ideas and additional guidance below, as well as on our Coronavirus website.
COVID-19 has changed our daily lives in so many ways, but we know it will not be here forever, and it will not have the final say. I know we are all ready for things to return to normal, for us to be able to celebrate things like Halloween or birthdays as we traditionally would. We still have a ways to go, but I can promise you that we will continue doing everything we can to ensure that we get through this together.
Yours in service,
Prince George’s County Executive
The Prince George’s County Health Department has released official Halloween guidance for County residents. The County does not recommend traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, and indoor haunted houses will not be allowed. Traditional trunk-or-treats should be shifted instead to one-way, drive-thru distributions for candy, and residents are encouraged to attend those sponsored by County Government or municipal governments. Large street parties or festivals are discouraged.
Low-risk activities that families can consider for a safe Halloween include pumpkin carving or decorating with members of your household, indoor/outdoor scavenger hunts with your household, virtual Halloween costume contests, and Halloween movie nights with members of your household. If anyone gathers with members outside of their household, they should wear a face covering and practice physical distancing at all times.
For individuals wearing Halloween costumes, the County is advising against traditional Halloween costume masks. Costume masks have mouth and nose holes, and when worn alone, do not provide the same protection as face coverings. Residents should consider creating or using Halloween-themed face coverings instead. Also, do not share masks, fangs or similar items. Additional guidance can be found online at health.mypgc.us/coronavirus.
Prince George’s Forward Task Force Releases First Report
The County Executive created the Prince George’s Forward Task Force to convene subject-matter experts that will help guide our County’s recovery now and post-pandemic, ensuring we emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever. Our Forward Task Force has released their first report titled “Actions Today”, containing recommendations that will help us confront some of the current challenges we face as a County.
We are proud of the work that the Task Force has already put into this first report, and the County Executive has announced that she will implement the 38 recommendations in the report by the end of this year. The Task Force plans to release two additional reports in the future, one with short-term recommendations and one with long-term recommendations. You can read the first report online at princegeorgesforward.com.
Stand Up & Deliver
We are continuing to work hard to address food insecurity in our County, and we want to provide information on next week’s distribution locations for our Stand Up & Deliver program.
Tuesday, October 13 at 10:00 AM (Groceries)
- St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church – 7501 Adelphi Road, Hyattsville, MD
Wednesday, October 14 at 10:00 AM (Prepared Meals)
- Metropolitan Seventh-Day Adventist Church – 6303-G Riggs Road, Hyattsville, MD
Friday, October 16 at 12:30 PM
- St. Paul Church – 6419 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD (Prepared Meals)
- Mt. Ennon Baptist Church – 9832 Piscataway Road, Clinton, MD (Prepared Meals)
- Faith Temple No. 2 Free Will Baptist Church – 211 Maryland Park Drive, Capitol Heights, MD (Groceries)
- Ebenezer A.M.E. Church – 7707 Allentown Road, Fort Washington, MD (Groceries)
Additional food distribution locations can be found on our website by clicking here. This map is updated regularly. If you are able to make a contribution to our Stand Up & Deliver program, please click here to donate.
Health Department Launches COVID Care Program
Food distributed through the COVID Care Program. Photo Credit: Stephanie S. Cordle/University of Maryland
The Prince George’s County Health Department has started the COVID Care Program. It is free for residents who have been exposed to COVID-19 or who are COVID-19 positive who have social service needs. This program addresses health insurance, medical and mental health care, food insecurity, housing, utility cutoffs, and other needs.
Residents in quarantine or isolation who join the program will receive a home-delivered COVID Care Kit, containing personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning supplies, toiletries, and educational materials. Food-insecure residents will also receive a two-week supply of food. If you are aware of Prince George’s County residents who have tested positive for or who were exposed to COVID-19 and need services, please refer them to the COVID Care Program at COVIDcare@co.pg.md.us.
COVID-19 Testing Update
The Prince George’s County Health Department has announced several changes to the County’s COVID-19 testing program. Several temporary sites will transition out of the Health Department’s testing schedule, including the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center, the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center, and the Chillum-Rollingcrest Recreation Center, all of which are County Department of Parks and Recreation facilities that were made available for testing when they were not able to be used for their usual purposes earlier this year.
The County is still providing the same level of testing services at current sites that are open and will begin expanding the number of partner test sites across the County. COVID-19 testing from the Health Department remains free and no appointment is needed. If you need a test, you can find a location using the Health Department’s online testing site locator.
PGCPS Distance Learning Survey
Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) has launched a fall Distance Learning Survey for parents to hear how distance learning is working for families. Please consider taking their survey by Sunday, October 18 to share your experiences with distance learning so far. You can access the survey here.
22 Ballot Drop Boxes Are Now Available
The Prince George’s County Board of Elections officially installed 22 ballot drop boxes last week across the County. These drop boxes are secure locations where voters can return their completed mail-in ballots, and they are monitored by security 24/7. They will be available until 8:00 PM on November 3. Between October 15-17, the County will install another 20 ballot drop boxes. To find a full list of available ballot drop boxes, please click here.
Remember that in order to vote by mail in the 2020 general election, you must request a mail-in ballot. The deadline for the Board of Elections to receive that request, October 20, is rapidly approaching. If you still need to request your ballot, you can do so online at elections.maryland.gov or by texting VBM to 77788. You can also return the application that should have been mailed to you by the State, or visit the County Board of Elections to complete an application in person. Remember, don’t wait and vote safe!
Census Deadline Extended to October 31, 2020
The deadline to respond to the 2020 Census has officially been extended to Saturday, October 31, 2020. We are excited that Prince George’s County has already exceeded our 2010 self-response rate, but at only 69.6%, we know there are still Prince Georgians who have not been counted. If you have not already, please take 10 minutes to complete your 2020 Census, either online at my2020census.gov or by phone at 844-330-2020. Then, text or call 10 family members or friends to remind them to complete their 2020 Census. Together, we can ensure every Prince Georgian is Proud to be Counted.
County News For You
Experience Prince George’s Nominated for National Award
Experience Prince George’s is proud to announce they have been nominated for the Convention South 2020 Reader’s Choice Award! Promoting Prince George’s County as a desired and valuable location for tourism and meetings is a top priority for Experience Prince George’s, and to be nominated is an honor.
Now, they need your help. Voting will wrap up Friday, October 9 at midnight. The winning destinations and venues will be featured in the Annual Awards Issue in December. Help us spread the word and share the news! Please vote via this link and search for Prince George’s County and Experience Prince George’s under Maryland. Let’s make sure we can show the nation some of the many reasons we are Prince George’s Proud.
Experience Prince George’s Launches “Social Distance Here” Campaign
Experience Prince George’s is launching “Social Distance Here,” a new tourism campaign geared towards residents and visitors to experience the County’s expansive outdoor attractions, from golfing and hiking excursions to unique shopping and historical expeditions, among other activities that are safe and structured for social distancing.
The County is a perfect road trip getaway. People are seeking new and different scenery that is not too far from home, and we provide it safely and responsibly. Travelers can spend a full day enjoying the many amenities found only here, or extend their time by overnighting in one of our unique properties. Our tourism and hospitality industry felt the impact of COVID-19, but we have remained steadfast in our approach to ensure that businesses and vendors continue to maintain their establishments and adhere to the mandated health and safety guidelines to protect our residents and the arrival of guests for the ultimate tourism experience. Learn more here.
Read Woke Challenge & Other Events from the Library
The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) is presenting the Read Woke Challenge, a national initiative that encourages reading, personal growth, and social justice. Prince Georgians of all ages are encouraged to read (or listen to) at least 5 books between October 6 and December 15, 2020 that explore diversity, inclusion, equity, anti-racism, and the many perspectives of the human experience. Participants who log five titles through December 15, 2020 will be entered to win a $50 Amazon gift card. Register at pgcmls.info.
Students and families can participate in the Maryland STEM Festival throughout October with virtual events, a new gaming app, and take home STEM activity kits (available at select branches beginning October 13). Hispanic Heritage Month also continues through October 15 with virtual programs and activities for all ages.
In addition, Good Morning America and ABC News correspondent Adrienne Bankert discusses her book, “Your Hidden Superpower”, with PGCMLS CEO Roberta Phillips on Tuesday, October 13 at 7:00 PM.
Finally, join PGCMLS on Wednesday, October 21 at 8:00 PM for an anti-racism workshop hosted by Dr. Simran Jeet Singh, titled “Anti-Racism as Self-Development.” Learn more about Dr. Singh and the upcoming workshop here.
Prince George’s County Cultural Arts Study
Prince George’s County will host a virtual community-wide meeting to launch the Prince George’s County Cultural Arts Study (PGCCAS). The meeting will be held on Saturday, October 24 from 10:00 AM to noon to engage artists, residents, community leaders and stakeholders on the important role of arts in our community.
PGCCAS is the first comprehensive inventory and assessment of the diverse arts and culture ecology in Prince George’s County. This study will align and energize the arts and cultural sector, residents, and leaders to strengthen partnerships, community participation, and County Government.
Community participation is integral to how the study will gather data, raise awareness, and better integrate arts and culture with the needs of Prince George’s County. To participate, register here. Log-in information will be provided prior to the meeting to all who register. For more information, click here.
Planning Board Budget Forum
The Prince George’s County Planning Board of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is holding its 2020 Budget Forums virtually this fall, to solicit comments on the Commission’s budget for planning, parks, and recreation in Prince George’s County for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2021. The final virtual public hearing will be Tuesday, October 13, 2020 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
For more information and to register to speak at the Budget Forum, visit pgplanningboard.org. To submit documentation as a part of the forum, email information to PublicAffairs@ppd.mncppc.org. Written comments will also be accepted until close of business Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Comments may be addressed to Elizabeth M. Hewlett, Chairman, Prince George’s County Planning Board, 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772. Comments may also be faxed to Chairman Hewlett at 301-952-5074 or transmitted via email to PublicAffairs@ppd.mncppc.org.
Hispanics Against Human Trafficking
The Prince George’s County Human Trafficking Task Force invites you to join Hispanics Against Human Trafficking on October 15 at 6:00 PM. This virtual event will provide up-to-date information about the signs of human trafficking, how to protect yourself and others, and what action you can take if you suspect human trafficking. Join this free, Spanish-language event by going to zoom.us and using Zoom Webinar ID 883-1570-6561, and Password 101530. You can also dial in at 301-715-8592.
Women in Faith: Diverse Voices Speak
The Prince George’s County Human Relations Commission and Prince George’s County Memorial Library System invite you to their “Women in Faith: Diverse Voices Speak” panel discussion. Tune in October 14 at 7:00 PM to hear from women representing Christian, Sikh, Muslim, and Jewish faiths as they discuss the intersections of faith, gender, and community. This event will be streamed live on YouTube and on Facebook.
Spotlight On Prince George’s
Office of Community Relations Supports County’s First Set of Quintuplets
Basil and Patricia Eze.
On Monday, September 28, our Office of Community Relations (OCR) dropped off donations of diapers, wipes, and other essential supplies to the Eze family, who welcomed 5 new Prince Georgians into the world as the County’s first set of quintuplets. We want to thank all the community partners who provided donations through OCR to support the Eze family, showing that Prince Georgians are always ready to lift each other up. Congratulations to Basil and Patricia Eze on your new bundles of joy, and to Favor Eze on becoming a big sister!
Takeout Tuesday Features La Sirenita Restaurant
The County Economic Development Corporation’s latest Takeout Tuesday video featured La Sirenita Restaurant located in Hyattsville. The owner, Eloisa has been serving authentic Mexican cuisine to Prince George’s County for the last two decades! Check out what all the buzz is about by watching this latest edition of the Takeout Tuesday series here.