From Councilmember Friedson’s Office:
The Council yesterday approved a $20 million Public Health Emergency Grant Fund to help local businesses and nonprofits pay employees and operating costs during the COVID-19 crisis.
Over the last week, we worked collaboratively with the County Executive and his staff throughout the process and have every expectation that they will be able to implement the Grant Program as quickly as possible, so our local employers can get the support they desperately need.
This is a time when we all need to put aside any philosophical differences and work together to support each other. I am proud of how closely we have worked with the County’s Alcohol Beverage Services to allow local restaurants to sell liquor and cocktails as part of their to-go or delivery options. In addition, our office helped the weekly farmer’s market at Bethesda Elementary School stay open despite the school’s closure and are constantly communicating with business owners and nonprofit leaders about their immediate concerns and what the County can do to help.
Make no mistake about it: The stay at home order that Governor Hogan has put in place is absolutely necessary to protect more people from being infected and for ensuring our hard-working healthcare professionals can adequately care for those suffering severe symptoms.
Please follow these instructions. Stay at home, except for essential trips. Wash your hands. If you do leave your home, don’t gather in groups and stay at least six feet away from those not in your household.
We will get through this together. We’re doing everything we can to help vulnerable residents and local employers and to get the message out about how to best protect ourselves and loved ones. We need everyone to do their part.
As shown in the graphic below, the Council today also approved a $6 Million Special Appropriation to support the increased need for existing County safety-net programs and direct aid for families in crisis, $260,000 for Manna Food Center to reach food insecure MCPS students, and $250,000 to help provide hotel and motel lodging for frontline health care staff. We also passed a $10 million appropriation to assist our county hospitals as they increase beds we know we need for surge capacity.