A state of emergency has been extended in Ellicott City’s historic downtown until the end of the month, continuing access restrictions on lower Main Street from Old Columbia Pike to Maryland Avenue.
County Executive Allan Kittleman declared a state of emergency following the deadly May 27 flood and the County Council has approved two extensions. A state of emergency gives the county executive power to limit access to streets and buildings and control traffic.
At a town hall meeting last week, shop owners spoke in favor of extending the declaration, saying it was necessary to limit outside vehicles and pedestrians so that they could continue to clean out damaged stores.
An amendment added to the extension approved Monday night requires representatives from the administration to update the County Council on flood recovery efforts at July 9, 16 and 23 meetings.
President Trump on Monday approved Maryland’s disaster declaration request due to flood damage in Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County. The action makes federal funding available to Maryland, local governments and some nonprofits for emergency work and repairs in Howard and Baltimore counties.
Emergency Management Director Ryan Miller told the council on Monday that while the county strives to limit the restricted area’s impact as much as possible, it must balance the needs of cleanup activities and safety concerns, particularly on lower Main Street.
Multiple shop owners on Monday urged the county to reopen Main Street as quickly as possible to help bring business back to stores that have reopened, such as Taylor’s Collective and Linwood Boutique.
“We need Main Street open. The businesses that have opened, the restaurants, the shops, with no access, it’s [going to] be really hard,” said Joseph Ritter, vice president of the Linwood Center, which operates the Linwood Boutique. “It’s tough to tell the employees, ‘Sorry we’re gonna have to put you back on furlough,’ because we can’t just stay open with two or three people coming in every day.”