LA PLATA, Md. – On Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Board of County Commissioners approved Emergency Resolution 2021-01 concerning implementing designated COVID-19 safety procedures for tobacco dispensaries, cigar bars, hookah bars, vape bars, and other similar establishments.

Department of Emergency Services Director Michelle Lilly and Health Officer Dianna Abney provided the Board of County Commissioners with an update on the COVID-19 public health emergency. COVID-19 vaccinations have begun with first responders and healthcare workers. The public will be able to get vaccinated after this first group is completed, based on the state’s phased plan for prioritizing groups who need it most.

The Department of Health will provide this information on their website and a recorded hotline message, at 301-609-6710. The public is encouraged to get tested through their medical provider, urgent care center, or local pharmacy. A drive-through testing site is available every Tuesday at Regency Furniture Stadium, and appointments are required in advance by scheduling online. Residents should also get their annual flu shot. The University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center provided an update on its COVID-19 patients and vaccination of its staff.

Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris provided an update on the county’s communications efforts, which are focused on informing residents about the upcoming COVID-19 vaccinations and reminders to continue to wear masks, social distancing, and avoiding out-of-state travel and large gatherings of family and friends. The county also released a video update on the COVID vaccinations process below.

Open Session Briefings
• Department of Fiscal and Administration Services provided an update on CARES Act, which has been extended to December 31, 2021. The County Commissioners approved the Charles County Sheriff’s Office request that the COVID-19 Hazard Pay be reinstated for police officers, correctional officers, and front-facing civilian workers until the end of March 2021. County Government Employee Essential Duty Pay was also approved.

• Chief of Media Services Jennifer Harris and Department of Human Resources Specialist Elaine Pollard provided an update on bilingual communications, including plans for providing translation and interpretation services.

• Charles County District Court, Charles County Sheriff’s Office, and States Attorney representatives provided an update on Charles County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.

Approval Items
Commissioners also approved the following items:

• A fiscal 2021 budget amendment increase of $120,000 to increase the budget for the county’s Septic Pump-Out and Septic Riser Program due to increased costs and participation.

• A fiscal 2021 budget transfer request of $8,430,000 to support forward funding the Eva Turner Elementary School capital improvement project.

• The draft Interfaith Commission bylaws.

• To introduce Bill 2021-01 Zoning Text Amendment 20-156 Agricultural Related Uses and set a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Legislative Update
Associate County Attorney Danielle Mitchell discussed Senate Bill 81 and House Bill 414 on the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit Project. The County Commissioners approved sending a letter of support for the bills.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and Beyond
National Mentoring Month
• School Choice Week
Catholics Schools Week

Public Hearing
The County Commissioners held a public hearing and approved Resolution 2021-02 to submit the Community Development Block Grant grant application for the Westdale Drive Stream Relocation and Restoration Project.

Next Commissioners Session: January 26, 2021 (held virtually)

Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.