Community Connections Newsletter: COVID-19 Update

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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 Update: County Government Operations Reduced to Essential Functions Only

Dear Prince Georgians:

First, I want to begin with a message directly to our community about COVID-19. I know there is a lot of anxiety and concern in the community, and I want you to know that I share those anxieties and concerns. We are living in unprecedented times, dealing with a virus that has dramatically changed our lives in a matter of weeks.

We know that COVID-19 is rude and indiscriminate. COVID-19 does not care about age, race, or financial standing. It has impacted people from all walks of life, not just in our County, but across our nation. However, I want you to know that COVID-19 will not have the final say. We have been working around the clock to do everything we can to contain the spread of this virus and save lives in our County.

With that in mind, and in an effort to ensure the well-being of our residents and our County employees, at 5 p.m. on Friday, March 20, I declared that the Prince George’s County Government would reduce its operations to essential functions only. The essential functions that will continue to operate are as follows.

Public safety agencies, including our Police Department, our Fire and EMS Department, and our Department of Corrections will remain operational to ensure the safety of our residents and those in our custody.

We are updating some of our police procedures to help keep officers healthy while still allowing them to protect and serve the community. For non-violent crime reports, the Prince George’s County Police Department will begin taking specific reports over the phone, rather than in-person. Residents wishing to report a crime should still call 911 as usual.

Domestic violence will not be tolerated during this difficult time. The District Court Commissioner’s Office in both Upper Marlboro and Hyattsville are still open 24/7 and they are still accepting and issuing domestic violence petitions.

The Family Justice Center is closed to the public, but services are still available by phone during normal business hours. Please call 301-780-8008 and an intake specialist will follow-up with you.

Our Department of the Environment will continue to provide trash, recycling and yard trim collection services on schedule. Convenience Center Drop-Off locations will remain open as well for the public. However, all bulky trash collections are suspended and will be rescheduled at a later date.

The Animal Services Facility and Adoption Center remains operational but closed to the public. The Facility will still handle emergency calls for service from residents, and those calls can be placed at 301-780-7200.

Our Department of Family Services, in conjunction with our Department of Public Works and Transportation, will continue to provide meal deliveries to seniors who are already part of existing delivery programs, including the Senior Nutrition Program.

In addition to senior meal delivery services, our Department of Public Works and Transportation continues to operate essential para-transit services, including medical appointments, trips for dialysis patients, and senior trips for grocery shopping. They will also maintain critical repairs of County roads, bridges and traffic signals.

Our County’s bus system, TheBus, continues to operate under reduced service, but has further suspended a number of bus routes, including routes 11, 12, 14, 15x, 23, 27 and 34. This is in addition to the bus lines already suspended, routes 21x, 22, 25, 35s, 51 and 53. You will not be charged to ride TheBus while services have been reduced.

Our 311 Call Center remains operational and will continue to take calls to address issues. However, due to the suspension of bulky trash collection, they will not be scheduling future bulky trash pickup dates at this time.

Our Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement will continue providing essential review of licenses and permits as well as essential inspection functions.

Finally, our Health Department will continue to operate, providing essential health and wellness services in addition to its work on containing this pandemic.

For our employees who will continue to work to provide these essential functions and programs, we are ensuring that the proper precautions and procedures are put in place and the appropriate equipment is provided for their safety and well-being. This includes continuing to maintain the telework operations we put in place over the past week. Those essential employees who are keeping the government running during this time will be compensated with paid leave.

We also want residents to be aware of changes to service through WMATA. Metrobus service will be extremely reduced to a modified Sunday schedule March 23-27. WMATA is asking residents to use Metrobus only when it’s absolutely necessary and to observe social distancing methods at all times. More information can be found online here.

In addition to actions taken by your County Government, Governor Hogan has announced a number of new actions that impact our entire State. By executive order, all non-essential businesses are closed in Maryland effective at 5 p.m. on March 23, 2020. Examples of essential businesses include grocery stores, medical care facilities, pharmacies, gas stations, utility companies, banks, and restaurants offering delivery, carryout or drive-thru options. Further guidance can be found online here.

Maryland is also launching a $175 million-dollar relief package to assist small businesses and workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A list of those resources available to small businesses and working families can be found online here. A comprehensive list of all actions taken by the Governor yesterday can be found here.

In addition to these State resources, we are working on creating more resources at the County level. We are in the process of establishing a COVID-19 Business Impact Fund that is funded through County, State and private dollars. We are also working on funding sources to provide relief for non-profits and families in need. As this information becomes available, we will share it with our business and non-profit community. 

Finally, I know that there are a number of questions surrounding the activity that began at the FedEx Field parking lot last week. Prince George’s County has partnered with the State to launch a prototype coronavirus screening location at FedEx Field. The Governor, who selected Prince George’s County to build the prototype, has sent the Maryland National Guard to help the County build the site.

The prototype screening facility is designed by Prince George’s County Health Officer Dr. Ernest Carter and the Prince George’s County Health Department. It will operate with assistance from the Maryland Department of Health and the University of Maryland Medical System. The County will announce in advance when registration for the screenings will be available and when testing will become available.

As we continue confronting this crisis head-on, we are asking residents to continue practicing social distancing. Please stay at home as much possible to protect yourself, your loved ones and your fellow Prince Georgians. Please also continue to stay informed, either by visiting our County Government website ( or by calling our coronavirus hotline at 301-883-6627, available from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM daily.

Again, these are unprecedented times for Prince George’s County, but COVID-19 will not have the final say. While it will take some time for us to get out of this, we will do so by continuing to come together as a community. I know that once we have made it through this crisis, we will be stronger than we have ever been before.  

Yours in service,

Angela Alsobrooks

Prince George’s County Executive

Yesterday's Press Conference

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Press Conference

Additional Resources

Examples of Essential Businesses

Essential BusinessesEssential Businesses Spanish

Prince George's County Police Department Crime Reporting Procedures

PGPD EnglishPGPD Spanish

SBA Loans for Small Businesses

SBA Loans

Senior Call Check Program

Senior Call Check