What’s canceled, postponed or changed in Howard County and Laurel due to the coronavirus outbreak

Please send all closings, cancellations and postponements of activities and events to for inclusion on this list.

On March 15, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Howard County and declared a state of emergency.


Ball also said The Mall in Columbia and other commercial gathering places will be closed until further notice, also including closing the shops at Savage Mill and the county’s movie theaters, Regal Snowden Square and AMC Columbia.

On March 16, Gov. Larry Hogan announced that restaurants, bars and gyms would close statewide. Grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services will remain open. While closing restaurants, Hogan’s order permits drive-thru, carryout and food delivery service.


On March 23, Hogan went a step further and announced the state was ordering all nonessential companies to close. Essential services that remain open include child care, food and liquor stores, homeless shelters and more.

On March 30, Hogan announced a “stay-at-home” directive to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The governor said the ban includes restrictions on traveling outside of the state and riding public transportation.

Schools/higher education

The Howard County Public School System is closed through at least May 15, along with all other public school systems in Maryland.

On April 27, the Howard County Public School System announced it would hold virtual graduation ceremonies between June 1 and 9.

The school system will provide free “Grab-N-Go” snacks, lunches and dinners to anyone younger than age 18, through the school closures. The meals will be available from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. weekdays at 14 sites. There will also be “Grab-N-Go” breakfast items available for the next morning, and children also are able to pick up meals for the weekend during the week at the 11 school-based locations.

All students enrolled in Apprenticeship Work-Based Learning, G/T Intern/Mentor, Transition Activities, Career and Technical Education internships at ARL or as part of Career and Research Development will not participate in any on-site work associated with these courses until schools reopen.

Maryland schools Superintendent Karen Salmon announced April 28 that the state was canceling athletic events for the remainder of the school year.

Effective March 30, Howard Community College moved to online delivery of instruction and services for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.


On March 20, the college announced that it had postponed its May commencement ceremony. On April 27, the college announced a rescheduled commencement is currently set for Aug. 21 at the UMBC Event Center in Catonsville, with Dec. 20 as a backup date if necessary.

HCC also will be continuing virtual learning through the summer. The summer session, which begins in May, will be completely online.

All college events are canceled through at least June 30. The decision will be reassessed on or before that date as new developments arise.

The Howard County Board of Education’s meetings will be held virtually until further notice. For information, go to

County government

Beginning March 18, non-emergency county offices and facilities will be closed to the public until further notice, though operations will continue through teleworking by eligible employees.

The Howard County Council will hold virtual public hearings and work sessions until further notice. For information, go to


April and May hearings before the Zoning Board and Board of Appeals have been postponed until further notice. Board of Appeals Hearing Examiner will host a virtual hearing at 6 p.m. May 28 for BA 17-018C, Elm Street Development/Bethany Glen, which will be limited to the petitioner submitting a revised plan to the hearing examiner. If you would like to join the meeting to view and hear the presentation, or if you wish to testify, you will need to register.

Alcohol Beverages Hearing Board will host a virtual hearing at 6:30 p.m. May 12. If you would like to join the meeting to view and hear the presentation, or if you wish to testify, you will need to register.

All Maryland courts are closed to the public and operating in a limited capacity through at least June 5. All non-emergency matters scheduled for a court hearing or proceeding, including jury trials, will be postponed, unless otherwise noted.

The county’s tax sale, originally scheduled for May 6, has been postponed to Aug. 5.

County services

The Howard County Library System has shut down branches until further notice. The library system is waiving late fees and is asking residents to not return items to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The system also has canceled the 2020 artist-in-residence program.

All 50+ centers in the county are closed until further notice. The onsite lunch program at the 50+ centers also has been suspended. If you need meal services or have concern about food availability, contact 310-313-1234 or


The county Department of Recreation and Parks announced that all facilities will be closed through May 15. All scheduled special events, programs, classes and facility rentals, including gatherings, are also canceled through at least May 15. All weddings at rec and parks facilities have been canceled through June 1.

All county parks remain open as of this time. The park gates are closed so people are unable to access the parks by vehicle but can still walk into the parks via access walking paths.

The county Department of Recreation and Parks announced March 20 that all playgrounds at county parks are closed due to safety concerns. As of March 31, the Department of Recreation and Parks closed the following recreational areas to discourage any gatherings at parks: basketball courts, volleyball courts, tennis courts, pickleball courts, skate parks and disc golf courses. Recreational boating at Centennial Lake is prohibited.

The county’s Worthington Dog Park in Ellicott City is closed until further notice.

Patapsco Valley State Park remains open. All programs and events at all state parks are being postponed or canceled through at least May 29. All visitor centers, administrative buildings, shelters and playgrounds, as well as nature/interpretive centers, also are closed.

The Timbers at Troy golf course is closed until further notice, including golf operations, clubhouse, golf course and driving range.


County-provided collection services (trash, recycling, yard trim, bulk trash and scrap metal) continue to operate as usual and collection guidelines still apply.

The Alpha Ridge Landfill remains open with normal operating hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday but should only be used by residents who do not have curbside collection service (either provided by the county or a private hauler). The only items that should be brought to Alpha Ridge are those that require immediate disposal, such as kitchen or bathroom trash.

A 10-vehicle limit has been instituted in the Resident’s Convenience Center during operating hours. Residents with household hazardous waste will be able to bring the material to Alpha Ridge Landfill’s Resident’s Convenience Center from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays. Those materials include corrosive, flammable, reactive or toxic products as pesticides, herbicides, degreasers, etc.

All scheduled and unscheduled occupancy inspections have been placed on hold. However, the Office of the Fire Marshal will continue to respond to safety-related code violations. To submit a life safety complaint, use the form at

The Howard County Police Department is encouraging residents to use an online and phone reporting system as the new coronavirus continues to spread in the region and across the country. Residents can call 410-313-2200 to submit a report by phone or online at

The Howard police youth programs that have been suspended until further notice are: Police Youth Explorer, BearTrax After-School Program, Elementary School Reading Program, PLEDGE Youth Program, Teen Court and Head Start.


As of March 23, Howard County Animal Control and Adoption Center are closed to the public. Animal adoptions are also being suspended until further notice. If you have an animal-related emergency, such as a cruelty in-progress, an animal bite, or a sick or injured animal, call the county’s non-emergency number at 410-313-2200. If you have a lost pet, would like to report a dead deer or any other non-emergency animal-related concern, email

The Regional Transit Authority fixed route will operate on an enhanced Sunday schedule during the week and weekend until further notice. Buses will run from 8:29 a.m. to 6 p.m. and provide one-hour headways on the following routes: 301, 302, 401, 403, 404, 405, 407, 408, 409, 501, 502 and 503.

According to the Howard County Office of Transportation, the Howard County BikeShare is closed until further notice.

For questions specific to coronavirus, Howard residents can contact the health department’s information line at 410-313-6284 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week.

Community Action Council

Effective March 18, the Community Action Council of Howard County offices are temporarily closed to the public. Howard County residents will still be able to receive energy and housing assistance through an online application or by phone.

Although Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. is not issuing any turn-offs or late until at least June 1, Howard County residents should still request energy assistance through an online application at or by calling 410-313-6440.


Howard County residents in need of housing assistance are encouraged to download the universal application form from the CAC’s website at and send the completed form to Beth Stein at or call the main office line 410-313-6440. Completed forms can also be mailed to: Community Action Council of Howard County, 9820 Patuxent Woods Drive, Columbia, MD 21046.

The Howard County Food Bank, located at 9385 Gerwig Lane in Columbia, remains open for service and is providing pre-packed bags of food five times a week. Call in advance of your visit at 410-313-6185.

Howard County Head Start services will be closed until further notice. This includes: Dasher Green Head Start Center, First Presbyterian Church Head Start Center and Old Cedar Lane Head Start Center, all in Columbia, as well as Ellicott City Head Start Center.

Community events

All events at the Howard County Fairgrounds have been canceled or postponed through at least May 17.

Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia has canceled or postponed all events through at least the end of June. The box office will be closed until further notice. For information, go to

All events at the Chrysalis and Merriweather Park at Symphony Woods have been canceled through at least the end of May.


The second annual Howard County Pride scheduled for June 27 has been canceled.

The annual Wine in the Woods event, originally scheduled for May 16 and 17, has been canceled.

The Artists’ Gallery, at 8197 Main St. in Ellicott City, is closed until further notice. An opening reception scheduled for May 14 is canceled. The exhibit, “Erasing Places” by Leah Lewman Laird, is available online for viewing at

Howard County Center for the Arts, at 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City, is closed to the public until further notice. The Celebration of the Arts gala, originally scheduled for March 28, has been postponed to July 19.

The Bernice Kish Gallery at Slayton House in Columbia is closed until further notice.

All performances of Silhouette Stages’ production of “Calendar Girls” have been canceled. All performances of “Catch Me If You Can,” originally scheduled for May 29 to June 14, have been canceled. Also its Spring Cabaret Night, scheduled for May 2, is canceled.


The St. Louis Spring Concert “Sounds of the American West,” originally planned for March 22 at St. Louis Church in Clarksville, has been postponed until June 13.

The Columbia Orchestra’s Symphonic Pops concert featuring vocalists Curtis Bannister and Emily Casey on March 15 has been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date this summer, if possible. “Beethoven & Bizet” on May 16 and “A Salute to the Duke” are canceled. “Music & Brunch” has been rescheduled for the fall. The Young People’s concerts (“Peter and the Wolf”), which was rescheduled for June 20, has been canceled with plans for it to be offered in spring 2021.

“Celebration of the Arts in Howard County: The Rising Star” competition and presentation of the Howie Awards originally scheduled for March 28 has been rescheduled to July 19 at the Howard Community College Horowitz Visual and Performing Arts Center.

The Columbia Pro Cantare chorus has canceled its May 2 concert at the Jim Rouse Theatre.

As of March 19, the petting zoo at Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City is closed. The farm’s Castle Store will continue to be open with limited hours from noon to 3 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays. For information, go to

The 2020 Youth Leadership Summit: When they SEA Us, Social, Economic, Action & Arts — sponsored by the Pearl Foundation Inc., a charitable affiliate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Iota Lambda Omega chapter of Howard County — has been rescheduled from April 18 at Wilde Lake High School to Oct. 3 at Oakland Mills High School. Also the 40th anniversary of the Scholarship Benefit Luncheon: 20 Pearls in a Glamorous World & Timeless Service Community Awards has been moved from May 2 to Oct. 31.


The 35th annual Fallen Heroes Day Ceremony, originally scheduled for May 1 at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, is postponed.

Columbia Association

All Columbia Association events are canceled and its facilities closed until further notice. This includes all sport and fitness facilities (fitness clubs, playgrounds, Haven on the Lake, pools, tennis, ice skating, golf, Columbia SportsPark, etc.); all community services facilities, including Columbia Art Center, Youth and Teen Center, and Columbia Archives; and Columbia DogPark, CA headquarters, and the Customer and Member Service Center.

School Age Services programs are closed during the Howard County Public School System closure.

The Columbia Association’s open houses are canceled at all participating facilities.

Rock Steady Boxing classes at Columbia Gym are canceled until further notice.

Columbia Clippers practices and meets are canceled until further notice.


The Columbia Neighborhood Swim League announced April 10 that its 2020 summer season is canceled.

City of Laurel

The city of Laurel’s Emergency Operations Center was upgraded to partial activation level. For assistance, call 240-294-1314.

Senior van transportation will continue to transport members to medical appointments, kidney dialysis and local grocery stores.

Outdoor city parks remain open. Event permits have been suspended.

Public works will continue to provide vital services, such as refuse, recycling and organics composting collections.

Code enforcement inspections performed by the Office of the Fire Marshal and Permit Services will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Breaking News Alerts

Breaking News Alerts

As it happens

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The Laurel Historical Society has closed the Laurel Museum, at 817 Main St., until further notice. Staff will be available to respond to email or telephone inquiries at 301-725-7975 or

The 150th Anniversary Executive Committee has canceled or postponed anniversary events through June 30. Go to for news on rescheduled dates.

The American Legion Post 60 is closed until further notice. Go to

The Laurel Boys & Girls Club, 701 Montgomery St., has canceled all events until further notice.

The Patuxent Research Refuge has canceled all public programs and events until further notice.

Knights of Columbus Patuxent Council #2203 have canceled most events until further notice. For updated information, go to


Baltimore Sun Media content editor Erin Hardy and reporters Ana Faguy, Jess Nocera, Jacob Calvin Meyer and Katie V. Jones contributed to this story.