CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

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 STAY AT HOME ORDER 

NOW IN EFFECT

No Marylander should be traveling outside of the state unless such travel is absolutely necessary. If you have traveled outside of the state, you should self-quarantine for 14 days.

“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home—we are directing them to do so.” – Governor Larry Hogan

Link to Governor’s Order

SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

Commonly reported symptoms of COVID-19 infection include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pneumonia

While the exact incubation period for this coronavirus has not yet been determined, it is believed that most infected people will develop symptoms 2-14 days after they were exposed.

 

TRANSMISSION

Many of the patients in the pneumonia outbreak caused by COVID-19 in Wuhan, China had some link to a large seafood and live animal market, suggesting animal-to-person spread. However, person-to-person spread is now widely occurring.

 

PREVENTION

There is no vaccine available for COVID-19. In general, people can protect themselves and others against respiratory viruses by taking the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap & water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home from work or school.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Practice good health habits.

 

THOSE AT HIGHER RISK OF BECOMING SERIOUSLY ILL FROM COVID-19

Older Adults and Individuals with Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Older adults (age 60+) and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater risk for serious illness, and in some cases death, if they become infected with COVID-19. Examples of pre-existing medical conditions include: cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions that impact the immune system’s ability to fight germs.

Currently, people are at risk for contracting COVID-19 who:

  • recently traveled to geographic areas of concern
  • have close, personal contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19
  • care for people with COVID-19

If you are an older adult or you have one and more chronic health conditions, you can take action to reduce your risk of exposure to COVID-19:

  • take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
  • when you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often with soap and water or hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content
  • avoid crowds as much as possible

 

GUIDANCE FOR TRAVELERS

At this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people who are at risk for serious illness, including older adults and those with pre-existing medical conditions, avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel. If you must travel, CDC is updating travel advisories as warranted and has advised against nonessential travel to some geographic areas of concern. Those with underlying health conditions are advised to avoid nonessential travel to certain areas as well.

Visit the CDC travel advisory site to check on current travel warnings if you are planning a trip abroad.

WHAT IS THE TOWN OF OCEAN CITY DOING ?

The Town of Ocean City has already taken a number of actions, including the following:

  • City Manager’s Office: The City Manager developed an internal preparedness group at the beginning of March. This group has been diligently developing pro-active contingency plans for the town, including putting strategic procedures in place for our employees and our facilities. The planning group has been working closely with our state leaders to do our part in Ocean City and maintain our safe environment.
  • Emergency Management: Our Emergency Management Department has established reporting protocols, updated Continuity of Operations (COOP) plans for the City organization, and working closely with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency to ensure compliance with state directives.
  • Human Resources & Risk Management: The safety and well-being of our employees is a priority for the Town of Ocean City, Human Resources & Risk Management Departments. As new information is published from the CDC, it is distributed to all employees to help prevent illness. Both departments have adopted all applicable guidance for sick leave, to include taking care of sick family members.
  • Ocean City Police Department: The men and women of the Ocean City Police Department remain committed and ready to do their part to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of citizens and guests of our community. All Police personnel have received updated instruction on existing agency policy and procedures on Communicable Disease Prevention. The department has established internal protocols specific to Corona Virus/COVID 19. We are working closely with various city departments and allied partners.
  • Ocean City Fire Department: Ocean City Firefighters & Paramedics are prepared to respond to any call for service, including possible COVID-19 patients.  At the start of each shift and after EVERY call for service each ambulance and all equipment used are decontaminated following specific guidelines from the CDC and MIEMSS.  On every call, our members are wearing N95 masks, gloves, and safety glasses.  If necessary, we have additional equipment to wear for possible COVID-19 cases.  Don’t be alarmed if you see us in personal protective equipment, it’s just one extra step we are taking to protect ourselves and those we are treating. 
  • Recreation & Parks: Recreation and Parks is sharing public health awareness messaging to support best hygiene practices from the CDC. All recreation and parks activities have been cancelled until further notice. All playgrounds and basketball courts in the town are closed. All facilities have been thoroughly cleaned to support the health and safety of our employees and program participants.
  • Tourism: The Tourism Department is providing up to date information regarding town events and tourism-related activities as related to the situation to our visitors.
  • Transportation: Ocean City Transportation has always maintained a robust cleaning processes on all of its vehicles and facilities and will continue using disinfectants that are effective against viruses. As an extra level of precaution against the spread of COVID-19, Ocean City Transportation is sharing important information provided by Federal, State and Local authorities about the COVID-19 virus, in addition, to following recommended precautions and cleaning protocols to employees and patrons. In addition, we have enhanced daily wipe-down of transit facilities and bus and paratransit vehicles with focus on disinfecting high frequency touchpoint areas such as interior bus operator compartment, panels, doors, handrails, interior window frames, pull cords, seats, stanchions, fare collection devices and other high frequency touch point areas.
  • Communications Office: The members of the communications team, provides streamlined communications to all Town employees as new information becomes available. Will provide updates via oceancitymd.gov and the Town’s various social media platforms, including NextDoorFacebookTwitter and Instagram.
  • Municipal Airport: Routinely/throughout the day, disinfect all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, doorknobs, and telephones. In addition, there is an additional emphasis being placed on the cleaning and disinfection of “Touchpoints” to protect the health and safety of our pilots tenants, and visitors. Examples of public “Touchpoints” are door handles, flush valves, faucets and counters tops.

UPDATES/PRESS RELEASES

Cancelations, postponements and Services Changes

(Last updated: 4-1-20 @ 12:05 pm)

  • SpringfestCanceled  Springfest 2020 has been canceled due to the rapid spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our special events department is currently working with vendors, headliners and local entertainers on how to proceed. We will continue to keep you updated as we learn more.
  • Town of Ocean City Tax Sale – Postponed
  • 7TH Annual Walk for Kids – Postponed
  • Crab Soup Cook-off – Canceled
  • Easter Sunrise Service – Canceled
  • Inlet Lot – Closed
  • Tow truck inspections scheduled for April – Postponed
  • Boardwalkin’ for Pets – Postponed
  • Maryland International Kite Festival – Canceled
  • Art League of Ocean City’s First Friday, April 3rd – Canceled
  • Special Olympics Torch Run – Canceled
  • Island to Island ½ Marathon – Canceled
  • Ocean City playground structures – Closed
  • Mobile MVA Bus Services – Suspended until further notice
  • CPRCNA – Canceled
  • Beach & Boardwalk – Closed as of 5 p.m. Sunday, March 22 (This closure will remain in effect thru April 30, 2020, at which time it will be re-evaluated based on the status of the global health crisis.)
  • Eagle’s Landing Golf Course – Closed until further notice 
  • Public access to City Hall, the Convention Center and Northside Park’s Recreation Complex – Closed until further notice 
  • All Boardwalk Comfort Stations (Restrooms) – Closed until further notice
  • Ocean City Transportation: In an effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, please use public transit for essential travel only, and, if you must use public transit exercise social distancing. By reducing unnecessary travel and keeping our distance from one another public transit becomes safer for those who depend on it and for those who operate it. Winter Bus Schedule has been extended to May 17. No overnight bus service Friday and Saturday night; bus service is limited to 6:20 a.m. to 11:35 p.m., frequency of service is approximately every 40 minutes; ADA paratransit service remains available during the same days and hours as Coastal Highway Beach Bus service
  • Ocean City Business/Rental License – Deadline has been extended to June 30th. No penalty/interest.
  • RTB Dance & Epic Tour – Canceled
  • RTB All Star / College Nationals – Canceled 
  • Wagner & Sons Trade Show – Canceled 
  • MCAP – Postponed 
  • Ocean Bowl Skate Park – Closed until further notice
  • Pooch Palooza Dog Festival – Postponed
  • Archery Tournament – Canceled 
  • Ocean City Bridal Show (April 5th) – Postponed to May 17th
  • Easter Bunny Funshop (April 11th) – Canceled
  • Beach Cleanup (April 4th) – Postponed
  • Walk MS – Canceled
  • Smithsonian Magazine Day – Canceled
  • Komen More than Pink Walk – Postponed
  • Ocean City Police Department: Until further notice, no taxi inspections will be scheduled and no permit renewals or fingerprinting/photographing will be done. No one will be penalized for having an expired permit (this year’s expiration date); or an expired medallion on their vehicles (this year’s date). These events will resume at a future date with no penalty or increase in fees.
  • Ocean City Sportsman Expo – Canceled
  • Reach the Beach: All-Star & College National – Postponed
  • Roland E. Powell Convention Center & Visitors Center – Closed
  • City Council meetings – Modified
  • Mid-Atlantic Symphony performance at PAC schedule for April 5 – Postponed
  • Indoor Programs at Northside Park & Satellite facilities – Suspended
  • Events, Meetings & Conventions at the Convention Center – Suspended and/or Postponed
  • Ocean City Spring Clean Up/Bulk Pick Up – Canceled
  • Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition & Art Festival – Canceled

State of Maryland Prohibitions

Stay Home. Stay Calm & Stay Informed:

STAY AT HOME ORDER

Effective March 30, 2020 at 8 p.m.

No Marylander should be traveling outside of the state unless such travel is absolutely necessary. If you have traveled outside of the state, you should self-quarantine for 14 days.

“We are no longer asking or suggesting that Marylanders stay home—we are directing them to do so.” – Governor Larry Hogan

  • All closed shopping malls and enclosed entertainment venues closed
  • Bars, restaurants, gyms, and theaters closed. Carry-out, drive-thru, and delivery may continue.
  • Casinos, racetracks will remain closed.
  • Social gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited in all locations and venues.
  • April 28 primary is postponed to June 2.
  • Residents are strongly encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel.
  • For more Statewide actions, visit coronavirus.maryland.gov.

FAQ Updated: 3-31-20

Why isn’t Ocean City closed completely?

There are several essential businesses in Ocean City operating within Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive orders. The Mayor & Council has directed visitors and non-resident property owners to not travel to Ocean City at this time. Additionally, on March 30, 2020, Gov. Hogan enacted an executive order which institutes a Stay at Home directive. All persons living in Maryland are ordered, effective as of 8 p.m. on March 30, to stay at home unless fulfilling an essential function. We will continue taking drastic steps to shorten the duration of this health crisis. If every single person steps up and does their part by making sacrifices now, it will slow the spread of this virus and help us flatten the curve.

I have a second home/property at the beach. Why am I prohibited from coming Ocean City?

Non-resident property owners should not be traveling to Ocean City. Hopefully these actions, with compliance, will help to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Additionally, on March 30, 2020, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan enacted an executive order which institutes a Stay at Home directive. All persons living in Maryland are ordered to stay at home unless fulfilling an essential function. We understand that non-resident property owners want to visit their second home, but now is not the time to visit Ocean City. Our hospitals and medical resources are not equipped to handle large amounts of patients, should an outbreak occur.

In addition, property owners should cancel any and all short-term rentals through April 30. This includes real estate companies and third-party rentals, including but not limited to Airbnb, Home Away and VRBO. Our hope is that if people can hold off for now from visiting Ocean City, this cycle will shorten and visitors and non-resident property owners can return soon. In addition to flattening the curve, our hospitals and grocery stores do not have the capability of keeping up with the increase in visitors and property owners.

Trust us, we want to open our town back up as soon as possible, but we are in uncharted territory right now. We all have to work together during this trying and difficult time. We are just hoping that drastic measures will shorten the lifespan of these many restrictions we are all under and get life back to normal sooner rather than later.

I have a second home/property at the beach. I am having work done and need to check on progress, the contractor needs me to be onsite or I want to come check on my property.

We request that if the work being done is not an emergency that you hold off on non-essential travel. At this time no one is encouraged to come to Ocean City. Maryland is under a STAY AT HOME order and knowing or willfully violating this order is a misdemeanor. We understand that our property owners want to come check on their homes but this is the greatest public health challenge of our lifetime and unprecedented actions are necessary. We have to work together and do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus, which includes staying where you are. If you would like, you can sign up for our Residential security check program. It is a free program and our police officers can check on your residence up to 5 times a week. You can sign up here: https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/departments/police/residential-form-request/

Why are hotels still open if visitors are asked not to visit?

We understand the concerns regarding hotels and can assure you we are working closely with our partners in the business community, including hotel owners, during these unprecedented times. Per the Executive Orders issued by the Governor’s Office, hotels are considered essential. As such, they are not able to discriminate and choose their guests. However, they have and will continue to abide by all orders of the State of Maryland, including all travel restrictions. Hotels are communicating that Maryland residents are required to Stay-At-Home and that anyone from outside of Maryland is asked to adhere to Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order requesting self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, local restrictions are being explained, including the closure of the beach, Boardwalk and Inlet Parking Lot. At the moment, there are only 10% of hotel room inventory open and for some, that is due to franchise rules. Those that are open are housing contractors who are maintaining cell towers, installing broadband for rural areas and keeping victims of domestic abuse safe. For the nearly 12 hotels that are open in Ocean City, their occupancy rate is in the teens or below. Our hotels are taking this health crisis very seriously and we can assure we are all doing our part to help stop the spread of this virus.

Can my family still visit?

At this time, NO. Ocean City Mayor Rick Meehan and the City Council are urging citizens to stay home, be responsible and avoid large crowds. All persons living in Maryland are ordered, effective as of 8 p.m. on March 30, to STAY AT HOME unless fulfilling an essential function and travelers from out of state must self-quarantine for 14 days.

• To further protect our residents, visitors and Town employees, Mayor Rick Meehan is directing visitors to postpone trips to Ocean City, beginning immediately. The Beach, Boardwalk and Inlet Parking Lot are closed until April 30. More drastic measures will be taken if necessary.
• This action is necessary to ensure compliance with social distancing and to help slow the spread of the COVID-19. Additionally, effective at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, 2020, the beach and Boardwalk in Ocean City will be closed due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Note: Restaurants on the Boardwalk will be allowed to remain open for carry-out service only.

What is the Town of Ocean City doing about Covid-19?

Each Town of Ocean City department is enhancing procedures and modifying day-to-day operations. The town’s internal preparedness group has been putting strategic procedures in place for our employees and facilities. For a complete list of what each department is doing, visit: oceancitymd.gov/covid19.

Have any events been canceled?

The Town of Ocean City is following the State of Maryland’s prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people for Town-hosted events. For private events, many event organizers are also following the direction of the State of Maryland. For a detailed list, visit: oceancitymd.gov/covid19.

Are businesses still open?

The Town of Ocean City has been following the strict actions by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to minimize the impact of COVID-19 in our community. On March 23, 2020, Gov. Hogan issued an executive order for the closure of non-essential businesses. While essential services, including grocery stores and banks, will remain open, all Marylanders have been encouraged to limit their exposure to others. Per the executive order, restaurants are permitted to serve carry-out or delivery. For a list of restaurants providing carry-out and/or delivery, please click here.

Is my business essential?

On March 30, 2020 Governor Larry Hogan enacted a “Stay-At-Home-Order” effective 8 p.m. It is up to individuals and businesses to deem whether their business is essential and to comply with this order. Knowingly and willingly violating this order is a misdemeanor. Please visit https://www.cisa.gov/identifying-critical-infrastructure-during-covid-19 for more information and to research if your business is essential.

What is the Town doing about the J1 Exchange Visitor Program?

The J1 Exchange Visitor Program is overseen by the Department of State and will be held to the same national/international travel regulations as all other travelers. Although these are uncertain times, the Town is working closely with the Seasonal Workforce Committee to protect the health and safety of participants, host companies and residents and visitors of Ocean City.

If I cancel my trip, can I get a refund?

The refund policy will depend on where you are staying (i.e., hotel, motel, condo, etc.). While we encourage businesses to refund visitors in emergency situations like this, we do not have any control in their final decision. For private Town events and conventions, any client wishing to voluntarily cancel their event due to concerns about the virus will be able to do so without penalty.

Where can I get updates or more information?

To get updates from the Town of Ocean City, please visit: oceancitymd.gov/covid19. For health-related questions, please visit: WorcesterHealth.org. For COVID-19 information in the State of Maryland, please dial 2-1-1.

What number can I call for more information?

The Town of Ocean City has an informational call center open Monday-Friday from 9am to 5pm. For questions or concerns, please call 410.520.5279. In addition, please continue to visit: http://www.oceancitymd.gov/COVID19.