State Roundup: Hogan offers help for business, but no new COVID restrictions

State Roundup: Hogan offers help for business, but no new COVID restrictions

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HOGAN ANNOUNCES RELIEF FUNDS, NO NEW RESTRICTIONS: More economic relief is on the way for Maryland’s small businesses, with Gov. Larry Hogan announcing the forgiveness of $75 million in emergency loans from the spring and new investments in housing and other areas, Bryan Renbaum writes for Maryland Reporter. But with new restrictions coming from counties, the fear is many businesses are at a “point of no return.”

  • Hogan ordered no new statewide restrictions on business or social activities, Jeff Barker and Christine Condon report for the Sun. Hogan’s comments Thursday highlighted a widening gap between the approaches taken by the Republican governor and some of the state’s largest, Democrat-led jurisdictions as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to rise.
  • Hogan has signed an order protecting Maryland businesses from “substantial or sudden increases” in their unemployment taxes caused by the larger amount of workers furloughed or laid off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Jessica Iannetta writes for the Baltimore Business Journal.
  • Whether it was deliberate counter-programming by Hogan is unknown,” but his mid-afternoon State House news conference also overlapped with a drama-filled legislative hearing about controversial payments made to former officials at the Maryland Environmental Service — one of whom briefly served as the governor’s chief of staff, Bennett Leckrone and Hannah Gaskill report. The announcement also overlapped two House subcommittees scrutinizing purchases of test kits made during the early weeks of the pandemic.

FORMER MES OFFICIAL INVOKES THE FIFTH: Maryland lawmakers investigating a six-figure payout to Gov. Hogan’s former chief of staff as he left a state agency got few answers when they interviewed a key witness, Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. Matthew Sherring, who worked at the Maryland Environment Service with Roy McGrath before he joined Hogan’s team, repeatedly exercised his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent.

RESTAURANTS SAY OUTDOOR DINING LOOKS BLEAK: As Montgomery County restaurants brace themselves for the possibility of a winter season without indoor dining, their owners are pleading for help to cover rent and other expenses, Dan Schere writes for Bethesda Beat.

NEW LOCAL RESTRICTIONS FROM COUNTIES: Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Thursday new coronavirus-related restrictions, including the prohibition of indoor dining at restaurants and limiting patrons at retail businesses, fitness centers and the MGM casino resort at National Harbor, William Ford reports for the Washington Informer.

  • Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner announced additional restrictions but stopped short of changes to restaurants or retail, Steve Bohnel reports for The Frederick News-Post.

BALTIMORE CITY’S NEW GUARD: As Baltimore’s new City Council and President Nick Mosby were sworn in, a message of optimism and hope ruled the day, David Collins reports for WBAL TV. “We don’t need a miracle to change or improve conditions in Baltimore, Mosby said. “We need us, this body as City Council, you as residents.”

  • Mosby’s speech was filmed by a private production company hired with campaign funds raised for inauguration, wound through Balitmore’s history then pleaded for strong leadership, Fern Shen reports for Baltimore Brew.
  • With Mosby ascending to Baltimore City Council president on Thursday, he is resigning from the House of Delegates and describes it as “bittersweet,” Pamela Wood reports for the Sun. Baltimore’s Democratic State Central committee is tasked with nominating someone to fill the vacancy.
  • When Brandon Scott was sworn in this week as Baltimore’s new mayor, the thirty-six year old became one of the youngest in the city’s history, Sean Yoes reports in AFRO. Scott was elected to the council in 2011 and last year was elected Council President.

STATE HELPS LOCATE CARE FOR OVERWHELMED MEDICAL FACILITIES: Across Maryland, 50 patients have been helped by a new state program to coordinate care for patients when hospitals have reached capacity, Teresa McMinn reports for the Cumberland Times-News. That number includes seven patients from the Cumberland area, who were matched up with facilities that have capacity.

VACCINE IS COMING: Washington County is preparing for vaccine distribution, but because most people won’t be able to get it for months officials are asking people to continue to wear masks and social distance, Mike Lewis reports for the Hagerstown Herald-Mail. The first group will be health-care workers, first responders and the residents and staff members of nursing homes will be the first to receive the vaccine.

GARRETT COUNTY’S CASES NOW TOP 1,000: From only 75 cases as of Oct. 8, Garrett County has seen nearly 1,000 COVID-19 cases in two months and 75 new cases since just Friday, the staff of the Garrett County Republican report.

PARENTS WANT SCHOOLS OPEN: Some parents are unhappy about online-only learning in Carroll County Public Schools, Kristen Griffith reports for the Carroll County Times. Several did not hold back in sharing their frustrations with the school board, saying “open the damn schools.”

LIBRARIES FIND WAYS TO ENGAGE: From going fine-free to offering online programming to meet pandemic-driven needs or confront race issues, libraries across Maryland have been constantly reinventing themselves, Luciana Perez-Uribe and Michelle Siegel report for the Capital News Service. Many have reopened in a limited capacity and even those with buildings closed to the public have been offering outdoor, appointment-based pickups.

CECIL COVID COMPLIANCE CHECK LOOKS GOOD: Cecil County police have found that residents and business owners are generally compliant with COVID-19 restrictions, including the new 10 p.m. closing time for bars, Carl Hamilton reports for the Cecil Whig.

LEGISLATION NEEDED TO PROTECT SCHOOL FUNDING: Garrett County’s public school system is asking state lawmakers for “hold harmless” legislation that protects of future funding in light of an enrollment drop propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, Joseph Hauger reports for the Garrett County Republican.

THORNTON STEPS DOWN FROM PG SCHOOL BOARD CHAIR: Alvin Thornton, the man who led a state education commission that recommended major educational changes nearly two decades ago, has resigned from the Prince George’s Board of Education, Donna St. George reports for the Post. He had been the chair of the board and did not list reasons for his resignation.

PARTNERSHIP TO HELP DEVELOP 5G: A new partnership, MD5G, is paving the way for 5G connectivity in Maryland, including the possibility of state regulations for developing the infrastructure instead of differing locality requirements, George Berkheimer reports for The Business Monthly.

BIKE, PEDESTRIAN FUNDING ANNOUNCED: More than $13 million will be spent through a grant program to support bicycle and pedestrian safety in Maryland, including two projects in Garrett County, Brenda Ruggiero reports for the Garrett County Republican.

About The Author

Meg Tully

Contributing Editor Meg Tully has been covering Maryland politics for more than five years. She has worked for The Frederick News-Post, where she reported during the General Assembly session in Annapolis. She has also worked for The (Hanover) Evening Sun and interned at Baltimore Magazine. Meg has won awards from the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association for her state and county writing, and a Keystone Press Award for feature writing from the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association. She is a graduate of Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. If you have additional questions or comments contact Meg at:

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