STATEMENT - COUNTY COUNCIL CHAIR TODD M. TURNER UPDATES COUNCIL RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY; COUNCIL ADOPTS EMERGENCY MEASURE
The Council is deeply concerned about the catastrophic impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the health and safety of Prince Georgians, and we are working together with County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks and the County Health Department to address this public health crisis.
COVID-19 has changed life as we know it, and at least for now, it is also changing the way the County Council operates, and how we engage our residents in important Council processes. In the current Federal, State and County states of emergency, the Council must continue to balance its responsibility to serve the community to the fullest extent possible, as a legislative body, the County’s Board of Health, and under its land-use and fiscal authority, with an equal duty to protect the health, welfare and safety of all Prince Georgians and our staff.
During Council Session on Tuesday, March 17th, the Council adopted Emergency Resolution, CR-10-2020, which as a result of the coronavirus public health emergency, significantly adjusts Council operations, sessions and committee meeting schedules, and presents alternative public participation pathways for our residents to remain engaged in required Council meetings and operations.
Under this emergency measure, which has the force and effect of law, all public meetings, sessions and hearings of the Prince George’s County Council, sitting as the District Council on land-use matters, the Office of the Zoning Hearing Examiner, and Board of Appeals are stayed for a period of 60 days or until the statewide emergency is lifted.
The time within which any individual, agency or official must submit a recommendation and/or response to the District Council, Zoning Hearing Examiner or Board of Appeals for consideration during these proceedings, is also stayed, for the same 60-day period.
The Council will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving coronavirus crisis and assess any need for additional adjustments. As we begin the FY 2021 Budget Review and Adoption process, and further the ongoing Zoning Ordinance Rewrite/Countywide Map Amendment processes (The Council and the Prince George’s County Planning Board of the Maryland -National Capital Park and Planning Commission have jointly agreed to postpone the March 23rd Joint Public Hearing – further information to be provided), we remain committed to the continuity of government operations, maintaining essential processes, and providing opportunities for critical public engagement.
While the current and imminent threat to health and safety challenges in-person participation in Council processes, CR-10-2020 provides for alternative public participation options, including utilization of digital technology, teleconferencing, the web, email, and live streaming, where such meetings, sessions or hearings are mandated.
We encourage you to visit the County Council at online at https://pgccouncil.us for additional information and updates.
The County Council continues to encourage County residents and employees to practice the guidelines provided by the CDC and Health Department, including:
- Social Distancing – Remember six feet of safety. Stay six feet or more away from others in public settings.
- Avoid Shaking Hands – Use the elbow bump or wave as an alternate greeting.
- Cover Your Cough or Sneeze with a tissue, your sleeve or elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds; and if that’s not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, stay at home, except to get medical care.
Be sure to tune into the COVID-19 telephone town hall with Executive Angela Alsobrooks this evening. There has been such a robust response that all the spaces are now filled for the call. However, you can still listen in by tuning into Prince George’s Community Television, Comcast Public Access Channel 76 and Verizon Public Access Channel 42, at 6:30 pm.
For the latest updates on COVID-19 in Prince George’s County, please visit the Health Department’s dedicated web page, health.mypgc.us/coronavirus , or call the Health Department Coronavirus Hotline at 301.883.6627, daily between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
The Council wishes to especially thank the members of the County Council staff and administration, for their work and commitment to our County, during this difficult time.
We are proud of how Prince Georgians have come together to address this health emergency. Please continue to pray for those directly impacted by this crisis, and for our world, the United States, Maryland and Prince George’s County.