State Roundup: As COVID-19 cases rise, business owners seek help from the state

State Roundup: As COVID-19 cases rise, business owners seek help from the state

BIZ OWNERS SEEK AID UNDER COVID-19: Maryland business owners say their companies are hurting and need immediate help following state and federal actions that forced many establishments to either close or cut back on staff in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Bryan Renbaum reports in MarylandReporter. The state is offering $175 million in loans and grants to help small businesses. As of Tuesday morning there were 349 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus in Maryland.

MO CO PROPOSES BIZ, NON-PROFIT GRANTS: In both the District and neighboring Montgomery County in Maryland, lawmakers have introduced $25 million in grant funding for businesses and nonprofits, dipping into reserves to fund relief packages for local businesses and proposing additional resources for health-care workers, low-income students and the homeless, Rebecca Tan and Darren Simon report in the Washington Post.

WHICH BUSINESSES ARE ESSENTIAL? What is considered an essential business that can stay open during the Covid-19 pandemic? Jenna Portnoy answers the question for the Post, from the perspectives of the leaders of Maryland, D.C. and Virginia.

  • In Maryland, the order to close nonessential businesses, notably, does not apply to liquor stores, wineries, distilleries and other providers of alcoholic beverages. Hallie Miller and Lillian Reed get to the bottom of the story for the Sun.

MANUFACTURERS STEP INTO THE BREACH: Maryland manufacturers plan to play a role in keeping hospitals, health care providers, first responders and others stocked with the protective gear and other medical supplies as COVID-19 begins to drain resources, Tim Curtis is reporting in the Daily Record.

STATE BRACES FOR SHARP HIKE IN JOBLESS CLAIMS: Maryland is bracing for a sharp increase in unemployment claims from the COVID-19 pandemic likely to dwarf the Great Recession’s flood of jobless and swamp the state’s $1.3 billion unemployment insurance fund, Bryan Sears writes for the Daily Record.

Maryland State Department of Education Superintendent Karen Salmon

ED BOARD EXTENDS SALMON’S CONTRACT: The Maryland State Board of Education voted unanimously on Tuesday afternoon to to extend the contract of outgoing state Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon, who has been leading the state public schools’ response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Danielle Gaines of Maryland Matters is reporting.

OFFICIALS DOUBT INFECTION NUMBERS: Each day at 10 a.m., Maryland officials update an online dashboard of confirmed coronavirus cases. The number stood Tuesday at 349, representing a tiny portion of the state’s more than 6 million residents. But, Kevin Rector of the Sun reports that public health experts say, that figure is woefully inadequate as an indicator of the total number of infections statewide.

OPINION: MORE TESTING, LESS DISEASE: In pushing for more testing for COVID-19 to end the spread of the disease and fear, the editorial board for the Sun opines that “Maryland-based virologist Robert Gallo, best known for co-discovering that HIV was the cause of AIDS, used his Chinese connections to score 1,000 coronavirus testing kits for the state. And we’re grateful. It’s 1,000 more than we had — but several million less than we need.”

GUARD PREPS FIELD HOSPITAL: Flanked by Humvees and doctors, state officials and the Maryland National Guard unveiled more details Tuesday about their plans to build a makeshift field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center, Luke Broadwater reports in the Sun. A video interview with Gov. Hogan tops the article.

  • Jayne Miller of WBAL-TV reports on Hogan’s visit to the Convention Center, quoting him as saying “This is much better than a tent hospital. My hope would be it is not filled with sick and dying patients, but I am hoping it will be an operational hospital and will help the people who need help.”

LEADERS PUSH BACK AGAINST TRUMP: Washington-area leaders – including Gov. Larry Hogan — slammed President Donald Trump on Tuesday for defying health experts by calling for the United States to return to normal by Easter, and announced plans to further restrict business and improvise solutions for medical equipment and bed space as the coronavirus outbreak claimed more lives, a team of reporters from the Post is reporting.

  • Fern Shen of Baltimore Brew writes that while experts at Johns Hopkins have rejected President Trump’s call to get back to work sooner than later, they also are sending another urgent message: “Black people are not immune to the coronavirus.”

GOP CHAIR, COUNCILWOMAN BOOST LOCAL RESTAURANTS: Power couple Maryland Republican Party chairman Dirk Haire and Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Jessica Haire are sponsoring $10,000 worth of free food from local restaurants and caterers to bolster those businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Sun’s Emily Opilo reports.

UMBC PROF DIES OF COVID-19: Maurice Berger, a research professor and the chief curator at the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, died Monday in New York of complications related to coronavirus, McKenna Oxenden reports for the Sun.

NEW CASES AROUND STATE: Kent County has announced its first confirmed case of coronavirus: a man in his 20s. Gov. Hogan’s spokesperson said that means there are coronavirus cases in 22 of Maryland’s 24 counties and Baltimore City, Bryna Zumer reports for WBFF-TV.

POLICE BREAKING UP CROWDS: State and Montgomery County law enforcement authorities said large gatherings had to be broken up throughout the county since Gov. Hogan’s executive order last week to limit gatherings to 10 people during the coronavirus outbreak, Dan Schere of Bethesda Beat reports. No arrests were reported.

RX POT FIRMS FIND WAYS TO KEEP CUSTOMERS: Maryland’s medical cannabis companies are getting creative about finding ways to get their products into the hands of paying customers, while keeping face-to-face retail interactions to a minimum, Morgan Eichensehr reports in the Baltimore Business Journal.

MARY MILLER POURS $1.5M INTO MAYORAL RACE: Mary Miller, a former T. Rowe Price Group executive and U.S. Treasury official, has poured $1.5 million of her own money into her Baltimore mayoral campaign — a massive investment that can help her remain on voters’ screens while they’re supposed to be spending most of their time at home, Talia Richman and Emily Opilo are reporting in the Sun.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

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