The coronavirus also know as COVID-19 is causing widespread disruptions as the number of cases increases both in Maryland and the United States.
Gov. Larry Hogan has announced a series of state measures, closing all nonessential companies to close and issuing a stay-at home order for Marylanders. All public schools in the state have also been closed .
Here’s a roundup of some Carroll County events and spaces that have been canceled, closed or postponed.
Carroll County closed several of its government offices March 25, including the main county office building, a county maintenance center in Westminster, Bureau of Housing Distillery Building, Bureau of Aging, Robert Moton Center, and Bureau of Permits & Inspections.
All in-person county meetings are canceled unless attendees are notified by county staff to teleconference. Any exceptions to this protocol will be communicated by the managing department. The Board of County Commissioners and staff will have meetings through a screen rather than in person. They will meet virtually via GoToMeeting, an online video conference service.
The senior centers, Business/Employment Resource Center, visitor’s center and Farm Museum continue to be closed. Carroll County Regional Airport continues to operate at regular hours.
Carroll County’s commissioners voted March 31 to close Hoods Mill Landfill in Woodbine, starting April 4, until further notice. The commissioners also voted to limit payment options at Northern Landfill in Westminster to credit cards and checks only, effective immediately.
Carroll County Public Library has closed all branches until further notice.All private meeting room bookings, library programs, and library events are canceled. All six branches and the library headquarters in New Windsor are closed to staff and patrons.
Fines on checked-out materials will be waived while the library system is closed. The library is offering digital services such as streaming of a range of media; the number of digital titles available, the number of platforms available and monthly limits have all been increased.
The library system also plans to launch virtual programs, available on library Facebook pages, including book clubs, teen gaming tournaments, children’s activities and trivia. A reading challenge, Spring into Reading, is also available for children; sign-up is at https://carr.beanstack.org/reader365.
The closure of public schools in Maryland due to the coronavirus crisis was extended through April 24, meaning students — whose last day in school was March 13 — won’t return to classrooms until April 27 at the earliest.
McDaniel College announced March 17 that all instruction for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester will move online after spring break. The college also canceled all events on the campus for the rest of the semester in order to follow the state government’s mandate against gatherings of more than 50 people. For a complete list of events, visit www.mcdaniel.edu/about-us/events.
In addition, on March 16 the college announced it is canceling all upcoming alumni events until further notice, the Golden Reunion Weekend, which was scheduled for May 1-3, and With Purpose, the annual donor recognition gala that was scheduled for May 9. College officials are working to reschedule class reunions that are part of the Golden Reunion Weekend.
And on March 27 the college announced the cancellation of commencement ceremonies for undergraduates and graduates that had been scheduled for May 23.
Carroll Community College announced that the college’s spring break would begin early, and after the break, starting on March 30, the college will move to remote learning until at least April 12. The college’s Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for March 18 was postponed.
And Carroll County-area private schools are following the state’s recommendation to close.
Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of Maryland Mary Ellen Barbera has ordered all courts in the Maryland Judiciary, court offices, administrative offices, units of the Judiciary, and the Offices of the Clerks of the Circuit Courts to close to the public through at least May 1, according to a news release from Susan Leary, Carroll County Circuit Court administrator.
Judiciary operations will continue to the extent practicable, the release reads. Except for certain matters, such as domestic violence, extreme risk protective orders, peace orders and emergency evaluation petitions, all matters scheduled to be heard between March 17 and May 1 are postponed pending further order of the chief judge of the Court of Appeals.
The Humane Society of Carroll County has implemented new procedures, staying in operation but closing the building to the public. The center is accepting animals, but by appointment only. Animals are still adoptable, but the staff urges people to foster before adopting because they are not able to browse through the Humane Society building. Adoption events in the community were canceled as well.
Carroll County Farm Museum
The Carroll County Farm Museum is closed indefinitely, as of March 17, and all events scheduled for March and April are canceled. The museum’s website and Facebook page will be updated regarding events scheduled for May and June.
New Windsor’s Town Hall is closed to the public, and town staff are working remotely. Anyone who needs to meet with town staff is asked to make an appointment. Anyone having difficulty paying water and sewer bills because of the coronavirus is asking to call the town office at 410-635-6575. At this time, no late fees will be assessed and water will not be turned off for any who fail to pay. Online payment and the dropbox by Town Hall is available. The New Windsor Food Bank at St. Paul United Methodist Church is not accepting walk-ins, but anyone who is in need of food is asked to call Town Hall.
Taneytown closed all playgrounds and its skatepark, and the Taneytown Police Department is closed to the public until further notice. Officers will still be dispatched as needed, and residents can call 410-751-1150 to reach the department. Calls will be answered between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., with after-hours calls routed to Maryland State Police. Administrative functions will continue in the building, but in-person services will no longer be supported. Payments for water and sewer bills may be mailed, placed in the City Office drop box at 17 E. Baltimore St. or paid online. “The City will continue to provide essential services as we work through this challenging time,” according to a March 25 news release.
Taneytown parks remain open, though the city urges guests to follow “social distancing” guidelines, staying at least 6 feet apart from one another. As of 3 p.m. March 31, the basketball courts at Memorial Park and Roberts Mill Park, as well as the tennis courts at Memorial Park, are closed. Organized sports in city parks and open spaces continue to be suspended. Board of Zoning Appeals hearings scheduled for April 1 will be postponed until further notice.
The Union Bridge Town Hall is open for dropbox and window service only. Town officials have not decided on arrangements for the next Town Council meeting. The meeting that had been scheduled for March 23 was canceled.
Sykesville is conducting business with residents by appointment only, and most staff members are working remotely. Town officials plan to do a test run in the coming weeks for a virtual meeting via the online video service Zoom ahead of the Town Council meeting planned for April 13. The town asks residents to “Please try to conduct all business via email, telephone, or mail. A drop box is in place outside of the front door of the Town House; please utilize this or send via mail any bills, payments, bids, or other documents.”
Mount Airy is instituting the following precautionary actions: The Town Hall will be closed for all public meetings, including volunteer committee meetings, during the months of March and April unless otherwise noted. Town Hall staff are encouraged to work from home, while the town is also encouraging residents to use the “Drop Box” for bills or correspondence. There are increased sanitizing efforts in place at the Town Hall that might affect correspondence. The “MAC” caboose will also be closed until further notice.
Hampstead’s Town Hall is closed to the public and only some staff members will be working there, though Town Hall can still be reached at 410-239-7408 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone message are being accepted, and the drop boxes outside the building will still be checked regularly.
All town meetings through March were . All items on the local agenda will automatically be moved to the next meeting, which is scheduled for April 22 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Town staff are no longer conducting in-person meetings, though all town departments are still communicating via phone or email.
Public works staff are maintaining the town’s water system, but “any routine maintenance that requires personal interaction with the citizens of Hampstead has been put on hold,” according to a Facebook post from town officials. Weekly trash pickup will continue as scheduled and yard waste will be collected on Mondays starting April 6.
Manchester’s Town Hall was closed to the public, and all town meetings during March and early April have been canceled and not been rescheduled. The town is placing priority on vital services including police and public safety, water and wastewater services.
Manchester Happenings’ Easter Egg Scramble, scheduled for April 4, was canceled. The corresponding Fire Department Breakfast with the Easter bunny has also been canceled. The fire department will post updates to its website if community events are rescheduled.
Westminster’s city offices are closed to the public until further notice. Residents may call 410-848-9000 with questions. Bill payment may be done online or through a drop box outside the city’s offices. Water billing questions should be directed to 410-848-3255. Housing services can be reached at 410-848-2261.
Westminster’s exchange activities with its sister city — Paide, Estonia — have been canceled. These included visits to Westminster from Paide government employees, and a visit and performances from Järva Juulad, an Estonian folk dance group.
TownMall of Westminster — subject to changes in ownership, the fading fortunes of retail and constant rumors over the past few years — is now subject to Gov. Larry Hogan’s COVID-19 mandate. The mall, like all others in Maryland, shuttered its doors at 5 p.m. March 19, and it is not clear when it might reopen — and how many tenants will reopen with it.
Carroll Arts Center
The PEEPshow, annually one of the best-attended tourist events in Carroll County, has been postponed indefinitely. The 13th annual event had been scheduled for April 3-13 at the Carroll Arts Center in Westminster.
Each year, this event features a display of sculptures, dioramas, graphic arts, oversized characters and mosaics created and inspired by Peeps, the marshmallow candy created by Just Born. It traditionally draws more than 20,000 visitors, most of whom pay for the right to vote for their favorite pieces of art. Last year, more than 160 artists created “marshmallow masterpieces.”
In the meantime, organizers have announced an online preview. “PEEPshow the Prequel,” which is planned to run from April 17 to May 1, will both allow sculptors to show off their creations and the public to vote for their favorites. Registration is open now for creators at CarrollCountyArtsCouncil.org. Creators can enter still images or videos.
In addition, all events scheduled for the Carroll Arts Center through at least April have been canceled.
Anyone who had already bought tickets to these events may contact the Arts Center at email@example.com or 410-848-7272. “Ticket holders may choose to exchange their tickets for a future event, convert their tickets to a donation to support the Arts Council, or receive a full refund,” the release states.
Parks and outdoor facilities
All recreational activities, including hiking, biking and horseback riding, at Liberty Reservoir are suspended.
Carroll County Recreation and Parks is continuing closures due to the coronavirus-caused state of emergency.
All Recreation and Parks sponsored programs and events, including all Recreation Council activities, are canceled through at least April 26, regardless of their location, according to a March 25 news release from the county.
All pavilion and other group reservations at Carroll parks are cancelled through at least April 26. Recreation and Parks will provide full refunds or reschedule previously reserved dates.
Bear Branch and Piney Run nature centers, the Piney Run Park gate house and boat house, and Hap Baker Firearms Facility are closed until further notice. No boating is allowed at Piney Run Park, but it remains open from 7 a.m. to sunset on weekdays.
Charlotte’s Quest Nature Center in Manchester canceled all upcoming events until a later date, but the nature center area remains open for hiking and other outdoor activities. The center encouraged people to get fresh air and exercise while practicing social distancing.
South Carroll Dog Park and Bennett Cerf Dog Park are closed until further notice.
Carroll County Food Sunday closed from March 16-21 but distributed shelf-stable, non-perishable foods to clients March 24 and March 26 in the East Middle School parking lot.
The Shepherd’s Staff was still operating as of March 18, but by appointment only, according to Brenda Meadows, executive director. Anyone with questions can call 410-857-5944. The Shepherd’s Staff canceled its Empty Bowls fundraiser that had been planned for April 5 and does not plan to reschedule this year.
Access Carroll, which provides health and dental care to low-income people, is still open but is conducting appointments through remote video sessions as much as possible. In-person appointments are still possible, though anyone entering the building will be screened for symptoms of the coronavirus.
Human Services Programs, which operates Carroll’s emergency and homeless shelters, including the cold weather shelter, is still operating.
Historical Society of Carroll County
The Historical Society of Carroll County announced that it would be closed through at least March 27. That includes exhibit galleries, historic houses, the gift shop and library. Additionally, all events have been canceled through at least April 4.
Carroll County’s five senior centers closed as a precautionary measure designed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus also know by the disease it causes, COVID-19. All activities associated with the Carroll senior centers, including those conducted by outside groups or the county Department of Recreation and Parks, have been canceled.
However, Celene Steckel, director of citizen services, said staff at the senior centers will continue working through phone and email, calling senior center members “periodically during the center closure to assess if the members have access to food, an adequate supply of medications or any other emergent needs.”
She reiterated that the Bureau of Aging and Disabilities office, at 125 Stoner Ave. in Westminster, remains open. Anyone with senior citizen needs can call the office at 410-386-3800. She also said center staff are prepared to provide access to food for any senior center members who report an inability to get food.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, planned by Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County for April 18, is going virtual. “The new virtual format will allow registrants to have fun and be creative as they develop their own unique way of walking a mile in her shoes! Curious? Check out our website (www.walkamilecc.org) for details,” a news release said. Registration is open until April 16. No T-shirts will be provided this year.
Downtown Sykesville Connection announced in a news release March 19 that it has rescheduled its Arts & Wine Festival and plans to hold it on May 30 from noon to 5 p.m.
Celene Steckel, director of citizen services, said the annual Seniors on the Go Aging and Disabilities Expo, scheduled for April 15, will be postponed.
The 33rd Christian Farmers Outreach Luncheon scheduled for April 4 in Westminster has been canceled. Already-purchased tickets will be refunded. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 433-508-4338.
Masterworks Chorale’s spring 2020 concert, scheduled for May 17, is canceled.
About an hour before the starting time, Winfield Elementary School made the decision to call off its Winfield Reads event and a book fair. Throughout the year, the entire school’s students and staff read the book “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” together, and the event that had been scheduled for Thursday evening invited the school community celebrate. School officials hope to reschedule but couldn’t say when.
Carroll Lutheran Village announced that its 40th anniversary celebration kickoff event, which had been set for March 16, has been postponed. The 40th anniversary committee will announce a new date once one is confirmed, the release said.
Breaking News Alerts
This will be regularly updated.
Times reporters Akira Kyles, Mary Grace Keller and Catalina Righter contributed to this report.