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The Prince George’s County Council is deeply concerned about the impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on the health and safety of our residents and employees. We continue to work closely with County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, her Executive team, the County Health Department and Office of Emergency Management to address services, information and any necessary resources to our County in response to this health emergency.
The Council must balance its responsibility to continue serving our community to the fullest extent possible as a legislative body, including as the County’s Board of Health, and under our land-use and fiscal authority, while protecting the health, welfare and safety of our residents and staff. The Council has already participated in the dissemination of information from the Health Department to residents and communities; and is encouraging important recommended precautions, including hand-washing, use of sanitizers, and other virus-reducing practices.
In alignment with the social distancing guidance provided by the Executive Branch, and the County Health Department, the Council is making several significant adjustments to Council duties, sessions and committee meeting schedules, and is reviewing alternative means of communication and public participation in its processes.
Among the changes to be implemented or considered: we have canceled group functions; will be conducting committee meetings with County staff only; requiring written testimony for public hearings instead of in-person testimony and implementing responsible teleworking options for Legislative Branch employees. These steps and others are focused on mitigating the risk to the public, and to the Legislative Branch staff, particularly those at higher risk for COVID-19 – our seniors and residents with chronic health conditions.
The Council is currently engaged in its FY 2021 Budget review, with a Charter mandate to adopt a new spending plan by June 1st. For public health and safety, people who have business with the Council should avoid doing so in person. With the support of technology, including email, the Council website, live streaming, and on-demand video, we are working to maintain essential processes, stay connected with our residents, and provide opportunities for their critical public engagement.
The Council will continue to monitor this rapidly evolving crisis and assess any need for additional schedule or staffing adjustments. For the latest updates on COVID-19 an in Prince George’s County, please visit the Health Department’s dedicated web page or call the Health Department Coronavirus Hotline at 301.883.6627 daily between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.