UPDATE 1/3/2022: According to a post on the Charles County Government Facebook page, the meeting has been moved to 4 pm. We apologize for the confusion.
On Wednesday, Dec. 29, the Board of Commissioners, held an emergency meeting in response to the alarming rise in COVID-19 transmissions affecting Charles County. At the meeting, they reintroduced Ordinance 2021-22 as emergency legislation and voted to reschedule Jan. 12, 2022, Public Hearing on Required Face Coverings to Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, beginning at 4:30 p.m.
This decision was made after receiving an update from Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney, who shared the latest COVID-19 statistics which revealed a significant increase in positivity, case rates, and hospitalizations in the county. She stated that wearing a face-covering is an important mitigation effort to protect the health, welfare, and safety of all residents and recommended that Commissioners act urgently on this issue. The Commissioners decided to move up the public hearing on requiring face coverings based upon Dr. Abney’s update.
This Board of Commissioners will sit as the Board of Health and consider this ordinance as emergency legislation. No substantive changes have been made to the language of this ordinance since it was announced. Following the hearing, the Board of Commissioners will vote on the ordinance and must have a supermajority vote of 4-1 or unanimous vote to adopt it. If adopted, the ordinance will become effective immediately and expire in 45 days, unless extended by the Board of Commissioners.
The public hearing has been changed from an in-person meeting to being held only virtually. The public will have the option to provide comment through a video link or by phone. Prior to the public hearing, Charles County Public Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney will provide an update on COVID-19 statistics and data on current positivity rate, cases, and hospitalizations in Charles County.
The public is invited to provide comments by choosing one of the following options:
- To speak during the Commissioner meeting, call 301-885-2779 on Jan. 4, 2022, between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to register. Registrants need to be available between 4:30 p.m.–9 p.m. to testify. If you are not available, we will move to the next speaker.
- Provide a E-comment at www.CharlesCountyMD.gov/government/public-comments
- Call 301-645-0652 to leave a message.
- Written Comment to Commissioners of Charles County, 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, Maryland 20646
- Residents with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service TDD 1-800-735-2258.
The Health Department urges all individuals ages 5 and older to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you are unvaccinated, seek a vaccine booster if you are eligible, and get tested if you are exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms or are exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
To decrease the spread of COVID-19, Dr. Abney also made the following recommendations:
- Do not congregate
- Smaller gatherings (outdoor events when possible)
- Postpone or cancel large events
- Require patrons to wear masks
- Provide masks for patrons who do not have one
- Have employees wear masks correctly and consistently to model best practices
- Allow remote work
- Ensure sick employees can stay home (when possible)
Viewing Option for Today’s meeting: click here.
Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney briefing: click here.
Draft of Charles County Ordinance No. 2021-22: click here
Next Commissioners Session and Public Hearing: Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022 (held virtually)
Citizens with special needs may contact the Maryland Relay Service at 711, or Relay Service TDD: 800-735-2258.
La Plata, MD- The Charles County Government has announced that the December 12, 2021, public hearing on ” Required Face Coverings to Reduce the Spread of COVID-19 Ordinance/Resolution 2021-21″ has been rescheduled until January 12, 2022.
The press release from Donna Fuqua, PIO states that “Charles County Health Officer Dr. Dianna E. Abney will continue to monitor the COVID-19 latest statistics and provide data to County Commissioners once the Maryland Department of Health data becomes available.”
On Tuesday, Nov. 30, the Board of County Commissioners approved Resolution 2021-21, which lifts the indoor mask mandate in Charles County. Masks are still required in Charles County Government operated buildings and public transportation, including senior centers, recreational centers, correctional centers, indoor facilities at public parks, golf courses, swimming pools (except when swimming), etc.; while on public transportation such as VanGO; or inside of any other building owned and operated by Charles County and open to and allowing the entrance of the public. Private entities, including hospitals, places of worship, nonprofits, restaurants, and businesses can continue to enforce mask requirements at their discretion. Charles County Public Schools is following state regulations, which currently require face coverings while inside public school facilities and should be contacted directly for regulation updates.
The Commissioners decided at that meeting to hold a December 15, 2021, virtual meeting to consider instituting an indoor mask mandate in Charles County. This procedural move is an attempt to codify the mask mandate into a quasi-legislative remedy for the many defects present in the previous state of emergency and health ordinance sustaining the mandate for so many months.
Reopen Charles County was scheduled to hold a rally outside of the Charles County Government Building during the hearing.