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Residents should follow COVID-19 precautions, officials say

EASTON — As Talbot Countians adjust to a “new normal,” health officials warn residents to remain vigilant with their efforts to fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“The number of cases in Maryland is rising,” County Health Officer Dr. Fredia Wadley said. “This is not the time to become complacent. Social distancing is not a game. If you want to slow the spread of this virus, you will adhere to the recommendations for social distancing.”

Talbot County Director of Emergency Services Clay Stamp agreed.

“We continue to closely monitor what is going on in other states and in other countries, and we believe that the number of cases has not yet peaked. The next two to three weeks will be a critical time,” he said. “I realize this is very uncomfortable and that many people’s lives have been significantly impacted, but I urge Talbot County residents to continue to their efforts to 'flatten the curve' by maintaining social distancing and following recommendations.”

Health officials and county leaders are speaking with one voice when it comes to the COVID-19 virus. “Stay home if you can,” Talbot County President Corey Pack said. “You will be doing yourself and your neighbors a big favor.”

Key Points from Talbot County officials for March 25:

  • Cases of COVID-19 are on the rise in Maryland, with two new cases on the Eastern Shore.
  • Mountaire Farms has donated hundreds of pounds of chicken to feed Talbot County residents.
  • Local businesses join the ranks of those helping with relief efforts for vulnerable populations.
  • Talbot County Public Schools remain closed, but are making plans for continuity of learning if the crisis continues.
  • Easton Utilities and the Town of Easton have set up free drive-up hotspots around town for those who don’t have access to internet — Idlewild Park, Talbottown Shopping Center, and Moton Park.

Easton Utilities

Community members needing access to high speed internet can now enjoy free Drive-Up Wi-Fi Hotspots provided by Easton Velocity, a service of Easton Utilities. “As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we’ve been working diligently to implement this offering in hopes we can help those in our community who may need internet service,” said Ted L. Book, Director of Easton Velocity. Currently, the Wi-Fi Hotspots are temporarily available in the Talbottown Shopping Center main parking lot closest to the intersection of Washington and Harrison Streets and in the Idlewild Park parking lot (adjacent to the basketball courts).

The name of the free wireless network is EU-Public and there is no password required or limit on time usage. “With the increase in students participating in distance learning and employers requiring people to work remotely, we wanted to provide a safe place for anyone to connect while maintaining the recommended social distancing,” stated John J. Horner, COO for Easton Utilities.

In addition to following the recommendations from the federal, state and local agencies to protect the health of the public and the employees, Easton Utilities is committed to supporting the community efforts in place and being a source of information during this unprecedented time. To continue providing the essential services customers rely on all day, every day, the emergency response team is working diligently to ensure there are contingencies in place if needed. Easton Utilities encourages everyone in and around Talbot County to visit www.talbotcovid19.org for important updates and information.

Talbot County Department of Social Services

The Food Resource Helpline 410-770-5515 is available for anyone needing to connect to food resources during this time. The Helpline should not be used for general COVID-19 issues.

Talbot County Library

In keeping with Governor Hogan’s directive that all non-essential businesses and services remain closed and that we practice social distancing, the Talbot County Free Library will be closed through Sunday, April 12, with the intent of reopening on Monday, April 13. o In addition, all library programs and meeting room reservations are cancelled through the end of April. All library book-drops will be closed starting Saturday, March 28. Fines will not be charged while the library is closed. o The library is doing everything it can to mitigate any inconvenience this causes its patrons. While we are closed, please go to http://www.tcfl.org/eresources/ and enjoy the library’s many eResources. o Please check the library's website or Facebook page for updates.

Talbot County Public Schools Update

During the Governor’s 3/25/2020 Press Conference, we were notified by Dr. Karen Salmon, Maryland State Superintendent, that all school buildings will be closed through April 24th, 2020, with the expectation for continuity of learning to continue for students during this time.

Our team has been preparing for this eventuality with limited 12 month staff. Our staff is confident we can provide continuity of learning for all students in TCPS now that we are able to engage our teachers in the process. We will solidify these plans to ensure that our expectations are aligned with the Maryland State Department of Education’s guidance, and will begin to share our refined plan for this extended school closure with our families and staff next week.

The TCPS team of leaders will continue to work tirelessly to implement and update our action plan for COVID-19 to meet the challenges of new mandates that come from the state. Not only is TCPS poised to support our students' academic needs through distance learning and alternative learning materials, we will also continue to be responsive to our students' needs for meals while school buildings are closed.

During this time, communication is critically important. Please know that we will strive to keep our community informed as the situation evolves.

Meal Distribution

FREE meals will be distributed for children ages 2 through 18 at the following locations from 9-11 a.m.: Easton Middle, Easton Elementary-Dobson, the corner of Dover and Aurora Streets in Easton, the Neighborhood Service Center, Pippin Farm, St. Michaels Middle High, St. Michaels Police Dept., Chapel District Elementary, White Marsh Elementary, Tilghman Elementary, and Unionville Church. This will include breakfast, lunch, dinner and a snack. These are drive-by/pick-up sites outdoors.

We are in the process of collecting addresses of families in need of the meals so we can plan bus routes for meal delivery in the future if needed. Please use this link to sign up for delivery even if you are currently picking up meals at one of our sites: Meal Delivery Request https://tcpsforms.org/TCPS/view.php?id=439535.

Where to Find More Information

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