Last evening, Governor Larry Hogan announced several reopening measures after the State experienced fourteen days of downward trending COVID-19 related healthcare metrics. These measures were implemented with a flexible, community-based approach that authorized individual jurisdictions, like Frederick County and The City of Frederick, to make decisions regarding the timing of re-openings. As shared yesterday, I, along with the Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner and local municipal leaders, understand the need to review our local healthcare data and resources and to work together to ensure the life, health, and safety of our community. Given the authority from the Governor, I immediately began to review the data, assess our local risks, and offer feedback to the County Executive.
A few hours ago, County Executive Gardner announced the reopening plans for Frederick County. The City of Frederick will follow the County’s plan. This phased approach was led by health data from Frederick Health and the Frederick County Health Department, the availability of personal protective equipment, and the continued commitment to lessen the surge potential on our medical providers and facilities. The measures outlined in the County Executive’s Order also ensure that the activities we know put us at greater risk, like gathering in large groups and putting us in situations when physical distancing is not possible, continue to be on hold.
As the City slowly begins to reopen, the City’s State of Emergency will remain in effect. To support the small retail shops that can now operate with curbside pick-up and limited indoor shopping, downtown curbside pick-up zones will be expanded. All city garages are also offering free thirty-minute pick-up parking and daytime parking meter enforcement remains suspended.
As your Mayor, I would like nothing more than to fully reopen our City. However, we know the virus is still in our community, and risk remains. The zip codes that include and surround The City of Frederick account for 78% of our county’s COVID-19 cases. The County Executive identified the targets we need to hit for re-evaluation. Our reopening abilities rely on the willingness of our residents and community to continue to wear masks when in public places, continue to practice physical distancing, and practicing hygiene efforts.
As we move forward, collaboration and communication will remain critical. I would like to thank our residents who have recently reached out with ideas and questions regarding reopening strategies. As a community, it is clear that we understand the complexities we are facing. But that has not dampened our creativity and commitment to Frederick’s future. The stages and phases we need to go through will take time. But transitioning safely will ensure we can continue the course through reopening and not retract into restrictive measures again. Please continue to stay safe and be well.