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 ehardy@baltsun.com 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 new “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 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 12 sites. There will also be “Grab-N-Go” breakfast items available for the next morning. Starting April 3, children also will be able to pick up meals for the weekend during the week. There will be no meal services April 10 or 13 due to the Easter holiday.

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.


Howard Community College has rescheduled its spring break from April 6 through 12 to March 16 through 22. The following week, March 23 through 29, all credit and noncredit classes are canceled.

Effective March 30, the college will move to online delivery of instruction and services for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

On March 20, the college announced that it will postpone its May commencement ceremony.

All college events are canceled through May 31. The decision will be reassessed on or before that date as new developments arise.

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.

A residents’ budget hearing with County Executive Calvin Ball, originally planned for March 12, will be hosted virtually at 6 p.m. March 30. The hearing will be livestreamed online for those interested in watching.


March and April hearings before the Zoning Board, Board of Appeals, Council Hearing Examiners and the Alcohol Beverages Hearing Board have been postponed until further notice.

The Howard County Council has postponed a public legislative hearing originally scheduled for March 16 until April 6. The meeting will likely be conducted via video conference or a conference call.

Two meetings to discuss the future of the former Columbia Flier building, originally planned for March 18 and March 21, have been postponed. New meeting information will be posted on the Howard County government’s website as it becomes available.

On March 16, Ball signed an executive order extending the deadline for licenses, permits, registrations and other authorizations issued by Howard County. Deadlines are extended for 30 days after the Maryland state of emergency ends.

The community meeting on the Timbers at Troy and Troy Park environmental studies scheduled for March 19 have also been postponed and will be rescheduled.

All Maryland courts are closed to the public and operating in a limited capacity through May 1. All non-emergency matters scheduled for a court hearing or proceeding, including jury trials, scheduled to begin March 17 through May 1 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 map@howardcountymd.gov.

The county Department of Recreation and Parks announced that all facilities will be closed through May 11. All scheduled special events, programs, classes and facility rentals, including gatherings and weddings, are also canceled through at least April 24.


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.

The county’s Worthington Dog Park in Ellicott City is closed through April 24

Enrollment for the rec and parks’ 2020-21 Recreational Licensed Child Care program will open as planned at 8 a.m. April 1. Online registration is encouraged at apm.activecommunities.com/howardcounty. Residents can also call 410-313-7275.

Patapsco Valley State Park remains open. All programs and events at all state parks are being postponed or canceled through at least May 11. 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.

The Loan Closet is closed for equipment donations; if you have an equipment need, call 410-313-0363. Donations of used home health care items at the Alpha Ridge Landfill also have been temporarily suspended. If possible, hold onto items until the donation shed reopens. Metal items may be recycled at the scrap metal area.

Shredding events scheduled for April 4 and 11 at the Alpha Ridge Landfill have been canceled.

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 hcdfrs.org.

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 tinyurl.com/HCPDREPORTS.

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 animalcontrol@howardcountymd.gov.

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 at this time, Howard County residents should still request energy assistance through an online application at mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us 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 cac-hc.org and send the completed form to Beth Stein at estein@cac-hc.org 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 through at least April 24. 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 through at least May 3.

Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia has canceled or postponed all events through at least the end of May. The box office will be closed until further notice.

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

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. Next month’s exhibit, “Erasing Places” by Leah Lewman Laird, will be available online starting March 31 at artistsgalleryec.com.

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 schedule 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. The new times are at 3 and 7:30 p.m. May 10 at the Jim Rouse Theatre in Columbia. All ticket holders for the original March 15 concert have been switched to the new date. The Young People’s concerts (“Peter and the Wolf”) scheduled for March 28 have been postponed to June 20.

“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 clarklandfarm.com.

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.

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.

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.

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 info@laurelhistoricalsociety.org.

The 150th Anniversary Executive Committee has canceled the March 21 digging up the time capsule on March 21 and the March 28 scavenger Hunt events on March 28. Go to 150.CityofLaurel.org for news on rescheduled dates.

The American Legion Post 60 is closed until further notice. Go to laurelpost60.org.

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

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

Knights of Columbus have canceled all events until further notice. The awards ceremony is rescheduled for April 21 in the Kutzera room of the Kesslser Center.

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