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COVID-19 in Cecil County: Info, closings, cancellations, helpful hints and more

If your church, organization, business or club has made the decision to cancel, postpone or reschedule an event or activity in relation to the pandemic send an email with all the details to jbellmyer@cecilwhig.com.

Here’s what we know so far, as of 12 p.m. on April 11:

CECIL COUNTY HAS 74 CONFIRMED CASES OF COVID-19.

ONE PERSON HAS DIED.

There is a State of Emergency declared in Cecil County.

There is a MANDATORY STAY AT HOME ORDER in Maryland. Travel off of your property is only approved for work, medical needs, and food purchases. Exercise within your community is allowed if social distancing guidelines are followed.

Also, wearing a fabric mask is strongly recommended for any necessary trips outside of your home.

Government

Perry Point VA Medical Center is closed to the public until further notice. This includes all buildings, walking trails and other amenities on the campus.

Maryland Toll Facilities is extending the expiration date of money in their E-ZPass discount plan account. Bay Bridge Shoppers Plan has been extended from 90 to 150 days. Meanwhile, plans for the Hatem, Tydings and Key Bridges, as well as the Fort McHenry and Harbor Tunnels have been extended from 45 to 90 days to allow for expenditure of money in the account.

Any E-ZPass account holders whose job situation has changed so that, even with the extension the money will not be spent, should contact the office about making changes or cancellations. 1-888-321-6824 or ezpassmd.com

Once the state of emergency is lifted, anyone with an E-ZPass account will have 30 days to replenish their account.

Also, anyone who has received a video tolling notice, or notice of toll due letter also has a grace period. Civil penalties have been suspended and any due dates of March 17 or later won’t be due until 30 days after the state of emergency is lifted.

**

Maryland has ordered all daycares to close, unless the children in their care have parents deemed essential, and they agree to take the children of first responders. To see the list of approved providers in Cecil County go here: https://earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org/system/files/filedepot/2/approved_sites_for_epcc_epsa_-_master_list.pdf

**

Maryland’s Superintendent of Schools, Karen Salmon, has extended the closure of public schools across the state to April 24.

Educators are now working on plans for alternate classrooms and online instruction. Computers and instructional packets will be delivered to students.

**

Taxpayer Services Call Centers within the Maryland Comptroller’s Office are now closed.

Until the office closures end, taxpayers can only reach the office by sending an email to taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov. The 1-800-MD-TAXES line will be out of service. Staff continue to work processing refunds.

Individual and corporate taxpayer deadlines have been extended to July 15. Most business tax payments are delayed until June 1.

**

Access to Perry Point Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been closed within the Community Park of Perryville. Anyone wishing to gain access to the facility must enter through the truck entry off Marion Tapp Parkway.

**

The Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration has closed all its branches and Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program facilities.

Any appointments are canceled. All drivers licenses and other certifications issued by the state are effective until further notice, if the expiration date falls after March 11.

Vehicle registration renewal, insurance compliance, change of address and flag fee information will still be available online at mva.maryland.gov

At least 12 VEIP testing stations will converted to COVID-19 test sites. To get tested the person must have symptoms of the novel coronavirus and a letter or orders from a doctor. The closest to Cecil County at this time is in Bel Air.

**

Rising Sun has closed Triangle Dog Park. All other town parks remain open for walking, jogging and bicycling. Playgrounds and basketball courts are off limits.

Perryville has re-opened all its town parks but with stipulations including no use of playground equipment, picnic tables, tennis courts and ball fields. According to its latest declaration, the parks may only be used for walking, jogging and bicycling.

All Cecil County parks are also closed. All parks and recreation programs and facilities rentals are cancelled. You are asked to observe social distancing and keep groups to less than 10.

**

Cecil County’s Administration Building at 200 Chesapeake Boulevard in Elkton is closed to the public effective Tuesday April 7 at the close of the business day, came the Monday morning announcement.

Only those personnel whose presence is required for proper operations will be on their jobsite.

With the building being closed, and meetings not allowed by declaration of the state of emergency, the council has decided to start offering conference calls for council sessions.

You will have the option to watch it live online at ccgov.org/council and via telephone by calling 1-646-876-9923. Whichever source listeners will have the chance to participate in the meeting where appropriate.

**

Cecil County Commuter Connection will be suspended indefinitely. Anyone who needs help with transportation should contact Cecil Transit at 410-996-5295, option 2.

The following service modifications have been made:

  • Beginning April 6th, the Cross County Connection will end at 6:54 PM at the Acme in the Big Elk Mall.
  • The Glasgow Connection continues to operate as a demand response service.  Customers should request a ride at least an hour before their scheduled stop time.  The service area of the route has been extended to serve the Belle Hill Road and Fletchwood Road stops on Route 279.
  • The Elkton-Newark Connection is temporarily suspended until further notice.
  • The Commuter Connection is temporarily suspended until further notice.

**

The Cecil County Health Department has been closed and all employees that can telework are on the job. Services are still being provided. Call 410-996-5550 with any questions.

**

Cecil College has moved its instruction online through the end of the current semester. Classes are available through Blackboard at cecil.edu. 

Programs that have educational components that are off–campus, such as health care clinical experiences, are suspended and will be addressed by each discipline-specific faculty, following the guidelines from each appropriate approval or accreditation organization. Please contact your faculty for questions.

Skilled Trades programs that are offered at Cecil County Public Schools (CCPS) will not resume until the public schools are open. Other Career and Continuing Education programs are developing plans to continue education online or suspend until in-person opportunities are available. Please contact the program specialist or Director with any questions. If you do not know who to contact, please email Melissa Hammond, Assistant to the Dean, Career and Community Education,  mhammond@cecil.edu who will direct your question to the appropriate person.

**

Students may pick up free food, Monday and Wednesdays only from 11 a.m. until noon at Cecilton, Cecil Manor, Holly Hall, Thomson Estates, Perryville and North East Elementary Schools, Elkton High School and Janes United Methodist Church. There is also a pick up site in Hollingsworth Manor. At this time all meals for the week will be distributed for those with proper storage for perishable foods.

Delivery is available to those without transportation. 

**

The Maryland Health Benefit Exchange has re-opened enrollment so anyone who needs health insurance can get coverage. Gov. Larry Hogan’s state of emergency triggered the new enrollment period to help those who may need health care during the coronavirus pandemic.

To enroll or shop policies go to marylandhbe.com

**

Port Deposit declared its own State of Emergency Monday, and in doing so also closed all its parks in a further effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.

Rising Sun, Perryville, and Elkton town halls are closed but some operations are still available including permits, paying water and sewer bills and other interaction.

Likewise Port Deposit town hall is also closed to walk-in visits from the public. To contact a specific department go to www.elkton.org or portdeposit.org

Perryville’s town hall is now completely closed on Fridays.

Port Deposit has cancelled its April 7 town meeting but Perryville officials will meet via tele-conference. Contact Denise Breder, town administrator, for access to the feed.

Customers of Rising Sun’s water and sewer system who pay their bill online would be refunded the convenience charge until further notice. Late fees and shut offs are suspended as well.

Elkton utility customers can drop off payments in the secure box in the front lobby of Elkton Town Hall or pay online at https://payments.tprosecure.com/md/elkton/paymentcenter/paymenta.asp

Rising Sun Historic Preservation and the planning commission meetings are cancelled.

Towns will continue to issue permits, although interior inspections will only be performed if it is a matter of safety or health.

Police and public works in each jurisdiction will continue as usual.

**

The Cecil County Detention Center has suspended all inmate visitation including volunteers and clergy. Religious services are also suspended until further notice.

**

All branches of Cecil and Harford County Public Libraries are closed until further notice. All activities and programs are also cancelled. Any materials checked out now will not be due back until the libraries re-open.

Cecil County does, however, have online resources including Hoopla, which offers movies, books, and audio books online for free at hoopladigital.com. There are also a wide variety of online classes available at the library website https://www.cecil.ebranch.info/

**

Elkton Parks and Recreation has cancelled all activities and room rentals through April 26. Please contact the Parks and Recreation Office at 410-620-7964 or by email at parks@elkton.org with questions.

**

Cecil County Animal Services is taking donations for the animals in its care. Dog and cat food, treats, toys can be left in a donation box to the rear of the shelter at 3280 Augustine Herman Highway south of Chesapeake City.

**

Schools

The Rising Sun High School Banquet, typically held each May, has been postponed. Kim Dugan Johnson, treasurer of the RSHS Alumni Association, said the event would instead be held Sept. 19. Newsletters and reservation forms will be mailed to alumni members in August.

For more information call 410-658-5043.

**

Schools in Cecil County which are part of the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington will be closed through May 18. All CYM sports programs are also suspended. All masses and devotions will be held but attendance is not mandatory.

**

Community

Ray of Hope Mission Center is running low on food supplies so it has limited its giveaways to Fridays only from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. while supplies last. Located at 960 Craigtown Road in Port Deposit, the center is otherwise closed during the pandemic.

**

The Cecil County Help Center in Elkton is now closed to the public. If you are in need of emergency food, please contact Cecil County Department of Social Services at 410-996-0100 for screening and referral.

**

COVID-19 testing is now available at ChristianaCare Union Hospital in Elkton by appointment only. Patients must obtain a prescription from their primary care doctor to get the test conducted. Your doctor will determine if you meet the criteria.

There are new regulations on visitors and the number of people allowed in certain patient areas at the hospital. No visitors are allowed at the hospital or outpatient services until further notice, with the following exceptions:

*One visitor is permitted for patients in end-of-life care.

*One visitor is permitted to support laboring mothers.

*One support person is permitted for patients in the emergency department or outpatient practices.

*Two visitors are permitted for pediatric patients.

*Visitors who are experiencing flu-like symptoms such as fever or cough should not come to the hospital or outpatient services.

Visiting hours are 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. and all visitors must be 18 or older.

**

Rising Sun Little League has, effective immediately, cancelled all activities.

**

The AARP Tax-Aide Foundation has suspended all tax preparation programs, including Tax-Aide in Cecil County. Local spokeswoman Sue Anne Grier said it is unknown if the free preparation service would resume before the tax deadline, which is now July 15.

**

The National Division of the Recognized Horse Trials, which were scheduled to take place April 10-12 at Fair Hill, have been cancelled according to organizers from Fair Hill International and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources at Fair Hill Natural Resources Management Area.

“In compliance with the current Maryland State Of Emergency regulations, as well as (US Equestrian Federation) directives, we feel it is in the best interest of competitors, officials & volunteers to cancel our National divisions at this time,” reads a release issued Saturday night.

All entry fees will be refunded.

**

Churches

Pleasant View Baptist Church will continue its drive-in worship services this Sunday at 8:45 and 10:30 a.m. Church officials assure everyone that all public safety protocols are being followed, with proper spacing of vehicles at the church on Downin Lane in Port Deposit.

The services will also be available online at pvbchurch.com

**

St. Peter’s Anglican Church at Maloney and Frenchtown Roads in Elkton will not hold worship services this Sunday.

**

St. Mary Anne’s Garden Market has been cancelled this year. It was to be held the first Friday and Saturday in May. Vendors are being notified.

**

The Episcopal Diocese of Easton, which includes Episcopal churches in Cecil County, will not worship with their congregations through May 10, according The Right Rev. San Marray, bishop.

“Parishes are given the latitude to explore responsible ways of offering the Holy Communion/Morning Prayer without in-person or face to face contact,” the bishop’s missive reads.

This eight-week hiatus runs through the Christian observance of Lent including Holy week and Easter services.

**

The Catholic Diocese of Wilmington has cancelled all worship services and activities at every congregation, which includes Cecil County’s Catholic churches until further notice.

The announcement came from The Right Rev. Bishop Francis Malooly.

“We do not take this action lightly and without prayerful consideration,” Malooly said. “We must put the health and well-being of our parishioners first. I invite the faithful to stay connected to their parish community electronically, and to participate in Mass via television and the Internet, during this challenging time.”

**

Elkton Presbyterian Church has cancelled all church activities including worship services until further notice. The Food Pantry and Financial Outreach Office is also closed during this time, however the Elkton Community Kitchen will continue to serve lunch on Friday, providing bagged lunch from the back door of the church at 209 East Main St. Call the church office 410-398-4636 for further updates.

**

Non-profits

While it is closed Plumpton Park Zoo still has more than 200 animals in its care. Accounts have been set up at Gifford's Farm & Feed on Biggs Highway in Rising Sun and at Oxford Feed and Lumber in Oxford, Pa. where donations can be made to buy feed. Also, you can feed yourself at Hill Culinary at 1 Commercial Plaza in Elkton and 10% of your bill will be donated to the zoo on Telegraph Road in Rising Sun.

**

Port Deposit Heritage Corporation has cancelled its 45th Annual General Meeting, April 16.

They hold out hope to be able to meet for the May 7 monthly meeting.

**

Cecil County YMCA in Elkton is closed and will stay closed until further notice

In a statement from Robbie Gill, chief executive officer of YMCA of the Chesapeake, offered several online resources for those looking for a workout in the interim. There’s a YMCA 360 program on YouTube and Les Mills On Demand Workouts available free of charge.

**

Freedom Hills Therapeutic Riding Program and Rolling Hills Ranch in Port Deposit has closed and all riding lessons are cancelled until further notice.

**

Businesses

Curry Bowl Kitchen was only open a few weeks at 152 West Main St. in Elkton when the pandemic forced business closures for some, and restrictions for others, including restaurants. Now Neal Lewis said he continues to serve his Jamaican menu for carry-out only.

"We are working on delivery," Lewis said. Call 443-406-3304 to order after browsing the menu on the Curry Bowl Kitchen Facebook page. Hours are 11:30- 8 Monday-Thursday and 11-9 Friday and Saturday.

**

Frank’s Pizza and the North East Plaza closed Sunday until further notice.

**

The chambers of commerce in Cecil County are working to help businesses with the paperwork need to apply for Maryland and federal grants and loans.

Here is a checklist to determine eligibility and to guide you through the application process: https://files.constantcontact.com/15ff6f49001/7a8b69e1-15e6-4eeb-ba5d-012e385e54c6.pdf

**

Add Food Lion to the list of grocers designating special times for those 60 and older or with compromised immunity to shop away from the general population.

Every Monday and Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. is that time.

Also the stores are installing plastic shields at check out so there is a barrier between the customer and the associate.

**

The Cecil County Office of Economic Development is hosting a Virtual Town Hall Tuesday at 2 p.m. The purpose of the event is to give small businesses an overview of the funding and grant money available and how to apply.

**

Fisher Phillips, on behalf of BBSI, a company specializing in business management solutions, offers lots of good advice from a pre-recorded seminar being offered by the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce. Fisher Phillips is a law firm with offices in Baltimore, Washington DC, and across the country.

**

Any business owners interested in applying for the range of programs offered by the Small Business Administration can get help from Maura Van Syckle, Cecil County counselor with the northern region of Maryland’s Small Business Development Center.

**

How has your business been impacted by COVID-19 and all the moves taken to stop its spread?

The Cecil County Office of Economic Development is asking small business owners to complete a short survey, which can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TD6L75Q

Similarly the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce also has a survey for its membership. The Chester County Business Impact Assessment for COVID-19 can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/chescoimpact

**

If your business needs employees or has other COVID-19 news to share, especially of you have any good survival tips, share them with the Cecil County Chamber of Commerce. Send an email to klewis@cecilchamber.com

**

Martin’s in Rising Sun is in search of part time and temporary help. Amazon is about to begin the process of adding 80 employees to the distribution center in Principio Business Park.

Aldi’s and Walgreens also need additional employees and Cecil County is looking to hire temporary clinicians.

**

Crave Eatery on North Bridge Street in Elkton is offering $10 Fridge Meals on Friday, Saturday and Monday that have about two pounds of food to go for dinner when you get home. There’s a different meal offered each day, with a wide swath of free delivery available. Plus, they are trying to collect “Feed a Friend” donations to provide up to 500 free meals for someone in need.

**

The chambers of commerce throughout Cecil County have put together lists of all restaurants that continue to operate, although with carry out or delivery only.

**

Harford Bank, with two Elkton branches, Bridge and High Street and in the Southfield Park Center, has closed all it’s lobbies, allowing customer traffic only through the drive in windows.

Online banking and ATMs remain in service.

**

APGFCU branches in Elkton and North East, as well as the Laurel Bush and Edgewood locations in Harford County are the only offices available to customers. These branches will continue to offer only drive thru service.

Also, there will be no Saturday hours at these branches.

Online, telephone and mobile banking will still be available, with additional people on staff to handle the extra call volume.

**

Martin’s in Rising Sun is now offering curbside pharmacy pick up for seniors and those with compromised immunities. The pharmacy will open at 6 a.m. to accommodate those older shoppers who are invited in from 6 a.m. until 7 a.m. The early pharmacy opening will take place every Wednesday until further notice.

The curbside pharmacy pick up is also a new service available to all seniors. Pay for the prescriptions by calling the pharmacy with a credit card number. Once ready, park in the Martin’s Direct spaces marked in front of the Rising Sun Town Center store and call the pharmacy again to let them know you have arrived.

Lastly, Martin’s is also offering free UPS mailing of prescriptions for senior customers.

Dollar General Stores are also closing an hour earlier for the same reason, and will offer its first hour of opening each morning to seniors.

Food Lion and Big Lots, meanwhile have set purchasing limits on essentials including hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels, bleach, rubbing alcohol and peroxide.

**

Howard Bank will only operate by its drive-in windows until further notice. The move is being made to protect workers and the public from the spread of COVID-19.

Mary Ann Scully, bank chairwoman and CEO, acknowledged not all services can be accomplished in a drive-through window but those customers should call the Bel Air, Md. branch, 410-515-3000, and make arrangements for an in-person visit.

Like most financial institutions, Howard Bank also has full-service online banking and a mobile app. Go to www.howardbank.com for details or call 410-878-3355 to reach the Rising Sun branch.

**

Armstrong, the cable and internet provider for western Cecil County, northern Harford County and Chester County, Pa., has announced it has relaxed data allowances for its internet subscribers for the next 60 days. It is also opening hot spot areas to the public for free use. To find a hot spot near you go to https://armstrongonewire.com/Internet/WirelessLocations

**

Chesapeake Utilities is following guidelines set by CDC and will close its offices to all public foot traffic. The company announced that rule would be in place until the risk of COVID-19 has subsided. Bills can be paid online and service disconnections are suspended.

**

The Art Den LLC in Rising Sun is offering art kits for all ages in accordance with the executive order closing non-essential businesses to stop the potential spread of the coronavirus.

Check their Facebook page for details.

**

Priapi Gardens in Cecilton has rescheduled its 3rd Annual Oyster Fest for October.

**

Citing the hardships that may effect some with lost work due to quarantine situations connected to COVID-19 Delmarva Power has decided to temporarily cease issuing cut-off notices and will waive new late payment fees until at least May 1.

Those with trouble making a payment should contact the utility immediately to make arrangements and get information on assistance from agencies that can help.

Likewise, anyone whose power has already been shut off by the utility should call 800-375-7117 and begin the reconnection process. A DPL official will help you make payment arrangements and connect you with agencies to assist you in getting up to date.

Also, Delmarva Power is warning customers about the additional headache of scammers. These scam calls threaten shut off of electric, which cannot happen during this state of emergency.

Any customer who believes he or she has been the target of a scam is urged to contact their local police and call Delmarva Power immediately at 800-375-7117 to report the situation.

 

Resources for Marylanders and employees during COVID-19

SBDC Webinar - Topics: EIDL and CARES (PPP) COVID 19 Loans

Monday 4/6/2020, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (EDT)

Space is Limited ~ You Must Register: https://mdsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/16175

Please RSVP with a valid email. After registering, you will receive a Zoom Meeting link to join online, or you can join via the dial-in number. This webinar will be recorded and shared, and if space fills up, additional dates will be added.

Daily SBA Conference Call – Updates (M-F) provided and you can ask questions.

3:00 p.m., Call 202-765-1264, Conf Call ID# 827-299-626

5:30 p.m., Call 202-765-1264, Conf Call ID# 310-688-488

EIDL Application Help – Daily 10:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. On the call, an SBA agent will walk you through how to fill out the EIDL form. Have all your necessary documents ready. Zoom Meeting # 6794772946

Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPPL) FAQ - 

SBA COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Main Maryland Business Information Site for COVID 19 updates and resources - https://govstatus.egov.com/md-coronavirus-business