Cecil Whig

Harford County State of Emergency to end on July 1st

- By ERIK HALBERG

ehalberg@chespub.com

BEL AIR — On June 15, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman signed an executive order that will lift the local state of emergency effective on July 1st. The action is in line with Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s guidelines on lifting state of emergency procedures throughout the state.

“We continue to encourage everyone to be safe and get vaccinated,” County Executive Glassman said. “But Harford’s metrics have trended down along with the state averages, and we are eager to move beyond the state of emergency to brighter days ahead.”

Along with the removal of the state of emergency, Harford County Public Schools and their offices will lift their mask mandate on July 1st.

According to Cynthia Mumby, Director of Harford County Government­al & Community Relations, residents will not see that many changes in their daily life after the state of emergency is lifted.

“Our county government has been operating throughout the whole pandemic,” said Mumby. “We’ve been doing things remotely where possible, online where possible. Many of these other things are state-wide things.”

Mumby pointed out that the largest difference­s will be state-wide items that may require the attention of residents. For example, license renewal deadlines were suspended for the duration of the state of emergency. With it lifted, the pause on deadlines will resume.

Throughout the pandemic, the county continued efforts to get money to local small businesses, directing CARES Act funding to local grants and funds. As CARES Act funding winds down, the county is exploring other avenues to continue supporting local businesses — especially in helping them make up for business lost during the pandemic.

To that end, Glassman plans to maintain relaxed parking lot restrictio­ns after the state of emergency ends — which would otherwise return to normal levels of restrictio­n — in order to allow local restaurant­s to set up tents and outdoor seating to increase the flow of customers.

The county is also planning how to use the over $49 million in funding it received as part of the American Rescue Plan. Mumby indicated that Glassman has directed the funds to be used for one-time expenses such as rural broadband, road improvemen­ts or public safety expenditur­es. Further plans for the funding are under discussion by county officials.

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