Mayor says the city is taking a slow, phased approach like the county.
Frederick, Md (KM) The City of Frederick will be keeping its state of emergency in place for the time being. That’s according to Mayor Michael O’Connor, who held a briefing Wednesday morning on the COVID-19 pandemic.
He says he’s following the slow and phased approach being used by the county for reopening Frederick city. “As Mayor, I’ve determined this slowed and phased approach was necessary for the city of Frederick as well,” he says. “As it ensured the activities that put us at greater risk by gathering in large groups and situations where physical distancing is not possible continue to be on hold.”
Last week, County Executive Jan Gardner issued an executive order continuing the stay-at-home order which states that residents should stay home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, and only go out if absolutely necessary. Businesses of less than 10,000 square feet are allowed to open, but only at 50% capacity.
Mayor O’Connor says it’s still not safe to totally reopen the city of Frederick. “As Mayor, I would like nothing than to reopen our city. However, we know the virus is still in our community, and the risk remains,” he said
Acting Police Chief Patrick Grossman says citizens, for the most part, are following the executive orders issued by the Governor and the Mayor. “To date, the Department responded to 127 calls for service of alleged executive order violations,” he says. “In total, one warning was issued. and officers found on all other occasions, the persons involved were acting per CDC, state and the City of Frederick guidelines.”
In addition, the Acting Chief Grossman said law enforcement agencies, across the country have reported an increase in speeding among motorists, even though few vehicles were on the roads. Grossman urged drivers to travel at a safe speed. ‘As we transition into the reopening phases, I ask all citizens to be cautious as they engage in approved travel,” he says. “Since January, the Frederick Police Department investigated over 700 traffic-related accidents to include one fatality.”
Richard Griffin, Director of Economic Development, said the city is doing what it can to help businesses which are closed or at reduce operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the briefing, Griffin said the curbside pickup zone program is being expanded to include parking spaces in front of small retailers and restaurants providing pickup service. ‘Additionally, the city recently increased the free parking grace period to 30-minutes in support of the curbside pickup program,” he said “We are working to reopen public restrooms in our garages with appropriate cleaning and sanitation to support downtown patrons.”
“We are also actively planning for the reopening of restaurants and bars for limited capacity dining in the future,” says Griffin. “The city is developing options for increased outdoor dining and retail sales options.”
He said an informal survey was conducted. Out of the 110 business owners who responded, 6% said they were fully open; 51% were partially open; 42% were closed temporarily; and 1% were closed permanently.
By Kevin McManus