BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland has transitioned into the third phase of its vaccination plan, which means anyone ages 16 and older are eligible for a vaccine in the state.
Most of Maryland is also reopened with some capacity restrictions and a mask mandate throughout the state. Although restrictions have been eased, each jurisdiction can decide how they would like to proceed. WJZ has compiled a complete list of how each jurisdiction is responding.
We’ve created a place where you can find all the information you may need in one place. So whether you need help, want to help or don’t know where to start, we have what you need below.
COVID-19, more commonly known as coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that emerged in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. In severe cases, people have died from the disease.
The new coronavirus spreads person-to-person and can only be detected with a lab test.
There is no vaccine for coronavirus, but several companies and universities are working on a vaccine. Instead, people are asked to wash their hands, cough into their sleeves or elbows and practice social distancing, staying six feet away from other people.
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In Maryland, there are several testing sites where anyone can be tested and others where a doctor’s note is still required.
If you’re showing symptoms or were in contact with a positive coronavirus patient, you’re first asked to call your primary care physician. PCPs will refer you to get tested, if needed. However, most PCPs are asking relatively healthy, younger patients to self-quarantine for 14 days and only call 911 if symptoms get worse or if you have trouble breathing.
Where to get tested: Local jurisdictions, the state, hospitals and some healthcare providers are supplying tests.
Renters hit hard by the coronavirus and who live in state-financed properties can now apply for a voucher that will cover four months of their rent. Click here to learn more.
The Baltimore City Department of Public Works has also created a water bill discount program for those unemployed due to the pandemic. Click here to learn more.
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Banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores, and big-box stores, like Target and Walmart, were open to customers throughout the pandemic. Across the state outdoor dining is allowed, and indoor dining is allowed at 75 percent capacity. Although the closures have caused businesses to lose money and in some cases layoff employees, there’s some good news: Maryland officials have grants and funds available to help businesses stay afloat, even paying employees’ salaries in the interim.
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Unfortunately, with so many businesses having to close their doors, they haven’t been able to keep employees. Anyone who has lost hours, temporarily lost their job or was laid off can apply for unemployment insurance. Thousands of Marylanders have reported issues with receiving benefits, in part due to the state switching to a new unemployment application website.
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WHERE TO GET FREE MEALS OR FOOD ASSISTANCE
Every school-aged child can get a free meal at a number of locations around Maryland. As for adults and families, there are also several options for food assistance. Those in low-income households can apply for SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps. You can apply here based on your income. There’s also the Maryland Food Bank and many local groups are collecting food for distribution. Several area businesses, churches and charities have stepped up to feed those in need. If you need help, you can call 211 for information.
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WHAT’S OPEN, WHAT’S CLOSED
Movie theaters and live entertainment venues will be able to open at 50 percent capacity, or up to 100 people at indoor venues, or 250 people at outdoor venues.
All retail stores, as well as churches and houses of worship, will be able to increase capacity from 50 percent to 75 percent.
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SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
Students in Maryland are also having to adjust during the pandemic. Colleges and universities moved to online learning and closed campus for the semester.
As for K-12, officials announced they would be closed for the remainder of the year, however distance learning continues.
Although students with computer or tablet access have been able to do some learning with the help of teachers, students without access were given packets of work to complete. However, none of the assignments will be graded.
Every Maryland student does have access to free meals. A list of those meal pickup locations can be found here.
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HOW TO HELP
Although officials are asking people to quarantine and stay away from large crowds there are still ways to help.
Gov. Hogan launched a site called Maryland Unites so that people could find organizations that need their help. The Maryland Medical Reserve Corps is looking for volunteers to help once the state opens coronavirus testing facilities. Meals on Wheels and the Red Cross also need help.
Howard County General Hospital is accepting donations.
You can also support small businesses during their time in need by ordering food or other items online.
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- Baltimore Groups Making Masks, 3D Face Shields For Local Hospitals
- Montgomery County Looking For Donations Of N95 Masks, Other PPE For First Responders, Healthcare Workers
- UMD Nursing School Asking For Help Sewing Cloth Masks
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES
If you need help and are struggling with your mental health during this pandemic there are resources for you:
- General Maryland Crisis Hotline at 1-800-422-0009
- Call 211
- Mental Health Association Of Maryland
- Maryland Public Mental Health System
- ‘Operation Roll Call’: Veterans or their families can sign up to get a phone call once a week or every other week from the Maryland Commitment to Veterans hotline. Sign up by calling at 1-877-770-4801 to register.
- Telehealth for Frontline Workers