COVID-19 FAQs

  • NEW! The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is providing direct funding to municipalities. How much money is my municipality getting?  And what can we use it for? What else do I need to know?
  • "Continuity of government" is listed under group 1b of the State vaccination distribution plan. Who in municipal government qualifies for this category?
    • While we have not seen written guidance on who qualifies under the "continuity of government" category, representatives from the MD Department of Health say elected officials and high-ranking municipal employees qualify.
  • December Federal Relief Legislation
    • Is any new funding provided to State and Local governments under the COVID-19 package? 
      • No. This package does not include additional direct funding for State and Local governments.
    • The CARES Act required all Coronavirus Relief Funding to be spent by December 30, 2020. Did that deadline get extended?
      • Yes. This deadline was extended for a year, the new deadline to spend Coronavirus Relief Funds is December 30, 2021.
    • Did this package expand allowable uses of funds for existing Coronavirus Relief Funds, such as to include revenue replacement?
      • No. The same restrictions are in place on allowable uses of funds, the latest guidance from Treasury is available here.
  • What is my county doing in terms of additional resources and restrictions?
  • What is going on regarding restrictions with businesses, activities, and public spaces?
  • What are some key items from recent federal legislation should municipalities should know about?
  • The State is sending federal CARES Act funds to county health departments (all except Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George’s which will receive federal funds directly) to offset COVID-19 related costs. How do municipalities access some of this funding?

    • Every municipality with COVID-19 related expenses should reach out to your county health departments NOW to inquire:
      • how municipal requests will be accepted, processed, and funds distributed from their first allocation of funding, and 
      • how future municipal needs will be accounted for in county plans for the second half of the fund allocation.
    •  Organize the documentation of your direct COVID related expenditures pursuant to guidance provided by your local health department.
    • Here is a letter from Maryland Department of Management and Budget Secretary outlining the distribution process.
    • Updated U.S. Treasury Department, Office of Inspector General, Coronavirus Relief Fund FAQ.
    • U.S. Treasury Department FAQ related to Coronavirus Relief Fund.
    • U.S. Treasury Department issued this guidance on what constitutes COVID-19 related expenses.
  • Are there resources for businesses and workers affected by the crisis?
    • Help spread the word to residents who may not have received their economic impact payment (EIP) from the CARES Act.
    • Yes, the Maryland Department of Commerce set up a website that offers assistance for employers, employees, finances, licensing, permitting, and emergency management.
    • Maryland Department of Labor Secretary FAQ’s address many issues regarding unemployment insurance.
  • Is there a resource for our residents to learn more about how services (utilities, taxes, unemployment, rent/mortgage) are affected during a State of Emergency?
    • The Office of People’s Counsel created this document to help answer some of those questions.
    • Office of People Counsel brochure with resources for utility payment and food purchasing.
    • Office of Home Energy Programs information on assistance with paying utility bills.
    • Contact information for Office of Home Energy Programs.
  • What should municipalities know about the budgeting process specific to 2020?
    • A good place to start would be MML’s yearly budget memos: Memo #1Memo #2
    • Steps to consider when budgeting during a crisis from ICMA
    • 10 Tips to Stay Financially Organized During the Crisis
    • If you are subject to the constant yield tax rate procedures, please review this guidance from SDAT.
  • What does state law allow municipalities to do during a crisis like this?
  • What are some options for platforms to conduct a virtual meeting?
  • How does the Open Meetings Act apply to virtual meetings?
    • Virtual meetings are an option during times of social distancing but the Open Meetings Act requirements still apply.
    • Maryland Municipal Attorneys Association Guidance on Virtual Meetings.
    • Maryland Attorney General Open Meetings Act FAQ’s.
  • How should municipal elections that are set to occur soon be handled? Can the date be changed?
    • Governor Hogan issued an Executive Orderon March 30 that allows for the suspension of the formal charter amendment process laid out in State law only as it pertains to municipal elections during the state of emergency.
      • With regard to providing "notice to the Governor," please send the information to Chris Mincher in the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel: Christopher.mincher@maryland.gov
      • Due to the particular nuances of each municipality it is strongly recommended that a municipal attorney is consulted to help navigate the process for each particular charter.
  • As essential employers, what are some issues municipalities should consider?
    • Take a look at this list compiled from several sources to get a sense of issues to consider when making personnel decisions.
  • How should municipalities handle Public Information Act (PIA) requests?
  • Is there a contact in the Governor’s office that can help answer questions?
    • Ryan Snow
      Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
      Office of the Governor
      ryan.snow@maryland.gov
      (410) 980-4659