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Johnny O. prohibits gatherings of 50 or more in Baltimore Co.

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Posted at 10:14 AM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 10:15:47-04

TOWSON, Md. (WMAR) — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski on Monday ordered sweeping changes in the fight against COVID-19.

Gatherings of over 50 People will be prohibited at all locations and venues beginning Wednesday, March 18. Local officials and law enforcement will have the authority to enforce the restrictions.

The Health Department can also reduce the limit and implement more rules or regulations as needed to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect public health and safety.

Olszewski also issued an executive order extending all County licenses, permits, registrations, and other authorizations until 30 days following the end of the local state of emergency. The order also authorizes the head of each government agency to suspend the effect of any legal or procedural deadline, due date, time of default, time expiration, period of time, or other statute, rule or regulation that it administers. This applies to suspensions concerning payments of late fees owed to Baltimore County. In addition, the order cancels or postpones all non-essential meetings of public boards, commissions or committees, and prohibits members of the public from attending those meetings deemed essential. Members of the public will be provided a way to participate in or observe all essential meetings. Guidance will be provided on a case by case basis.

Evictions have also been suspended as part of the order. Baltimore County Sheriff R. Jay Fisher has agreed to suspend all evictions for the duration of the state of emergency in the County.

“In the midst of this public health crisis, we must act decisively to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the public,” Olszewski said. “This situation continues to evolve rapidly and we remain committed to taking whatever action necessary to promote social distancing, limit the spread of COVID-19, and save lives.”

County office buildings remain open at this time, but the County will soon limit public access. Permit requests and all other meetings with County department staff will be by appointment only as of Wednesday, March 18, 2020.

All meetings and appointments currently scheduled with County departments or staff are cancelled unless individuals are otherwise notified. Instructions for scheduling appointments with County departments will be available in the next several days and posted to the County’s website. Until such time, members of the public will be restricted from entering County buildings. Visitors and those requesting appointments will be screened for illness prior to gaining access to County buildings.

These latest changes come days after Olszewski ordered senior centers, libraries and other public places to close.