FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — During a public briefing on Wednesday, the mayor for the City of Frederick announced new COVID-19 containment efforts, and adjustments to how the city will continue to operate for residents and businesses.
“Everything that we know from the health professionals is that we have to flatten the curve,” Mayor Michael O’Connor said.
And in an effort to do so, O’Connor began Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing clarifying Governor Larry Hogan’s stay-at-home order, reminding residents there is currently no curfew in place.
He added that people are allowed to travel to get necessary supplies, like groceries and pick-up food orders, and medical services.
“While the Frederick Police Department is not conducting traffic stops for travel, you may want to obtain a letter from your employer or carry your employment identification to help resolve potential questions,” O’Connor advised.
Restaurants, bars, and other businesses that sell food and drinks will remain closed to the public but can continue to serve through carry-out, drive-thru, curbside pick-up, and delivery. Ten-minute curbside parking zones will remain along downtown Frederick.
“Non-essential business remain closed to the general public,” O’Connor said, “And are now prohibited from operating curbside pick-up. However, non-essential businesses may continue to sell products on a delivery basis.”
In a greater attempt to limit virus exposure, city playgrounds, pavilions, tennis courts and skate parks will close. Local parks will remain open, and the city encourages people to take a break outside.
“I ask that you please cooperate with these closures and use parks local and adjacent to your neighborhood to limit non-essential travel,” O’Connor said.
A new online portal was also announced in an effort to keep resident’s and business’ projects on schedule.
The online tool will accept applications, plans, and fee payments for work with the Planning, Engineering, and Building Departments, officials say.
“We’re talking about major construction projects: buildings, residential properties, renovations,” explained director of the department of public works for the City of Frederick, Zack Kershner, “So, [it’s] very critical for them to keep their projects moving forward.”
On a final note, O’Connor announced he has submitted a proposed fiscal year 2021 budget.
He says a primary focus of the budget is building up the city’s new department of housing and human services.
“How we ensure, which we’ve had to do during this pandemic issue, how do we ensure those at the lowest level of economic scale are being cared for and have adequate resources that they need,” said O’Connor.
A nationwide search for a director of the house and human services department is underway.
The city is working the technical aspects of launching the public budget meeting process online. Members of the Board of Aldermen will be able to meet virtually and a system will be in place for residents to call in and provide input.
The first virtual public hearing is schedule for April 14.