it was part of the Mayor’s weekly updates on the coronavirus.
Frederick, Md (KM) There’s has been no dramatic increase in domestic violence calls in the city of Frederick during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to Acting Police Chief Patrick Grossman, who was part of a briefing at City Hal on Wednesday.
“We have not seen an uptick or any sort of increase in particular calls for service such as domestic violence, child abuse and things like that,” he said. “Those numbers have remained fairly steady throughout the crisis. And actually we’ve had a slight numeral decrease since the more restrictive orders were put in place.”
As part of an effort to battle the coronavirus, Governor Larry Hogan issued executive orders closing non-essential businesses, and requiring citizens stay home unless it’s important that they go out, such as heading to a job, or purchasing food or medicine.
Acting Chief Grossman said since these orders went into affect, officers have responded to about 60 reports of violations, but only one warning has been issued.
Grossman was one of four city department heads who brief the public on the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday.
Richard Griffin, the Director of the Department of Economic Development, said a survey of businesses found that many were experiencing revenue drops of between 50% to 70%. But there is some good news to gleaned from a second poll which is ongoing. . “They showed 9% of our businesses are fully open, 56% are open in a limited capacity, and 35% are closed temporarily,” he said. “No respondents are reporting being closed permanently at this time. We hope that the last number stays close to zero as possible.”
He also said the Department has established a micro-grant program to help small businesses get through this coronavirus emergency. “The purpose of the $2500 micro-grant is assist small businesses with less than 15 employees to manage the financial pressures of rent, mortgage and utility costs during the COVID crisis,” he said. “We have already awarded 36 micro-grants to businesses in every sector of the city, and expect to award another eight to ten in the next week or so.”
Also, the Department is assisting businesses in their applications for state and federal programs to help them get through this crisis.
The economic downturn as a result of the coronavirus has kept the Frederick Community Action Agency busy helping vulnerable populations. Acting Director Janet Jones says a new service has been added. “In the Health Center, which is operating daily, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, we are now offering telehealth appointments,” she said.
Jones said the Soup Kitchen has been serving 150 take out meals each evening, and is looking for help from restaurants in this effort. And, she says, food donations are always welcome. “A no contact donation drop off is available at 14 East All Saints Street. We certainly appreciate any donations. However,please continue to reduce your exposure and only pick up items for donations during your routine trips to stores.”
Six Maryland National Guard soldiers are assisting the Community Action Agency in the preparation and distribution of food and hygiene products.
While the stay-at-home order is in affect, residents are allowed to go outside for exercise, and Frederick City parks are still open for that purpose. “However, for your health and safety, all park playgrounds, pavilions, basketball courts, tennis courts, in-line rinks, and skate parks are closed,” said Public Works Director Zack Kershner. “Individuals using the open sections of the parks should not gather in large groups, and avoid close contact with anyone on paths and trails.”
Kershner also says sanitation, trash pickup and commercial recycling are operating as normal. But bulk trash pickup is suspended at this time.
He also reminds citizens to flush only toilet paper down their toilets as other items could cause sewer backups.
By Kevin McManus