Local BusinessPrince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

More Businesses Could Reopen in Prince George’s

If certain coronavirus measures continue to decrease, more businesses could reopen in Prince George’s County by June 15.

Some of those indicators include lower hospitalization rates, deaths and confirmed cases have either decreased or remained stable in the past month.

For instance, confirmed cases in the majority Black jurisdiction reached its highest point the week of April 26 at 2,407. It decreased every week since to 1,427 the week of May 24.

During the same timeframe, COVID-19 tests collected increased from 5,628 to 10,870.

The first four weeks of the same period death rates dropped from 71 to 47. The final week it rose by one patient to 48.

“We are encouraged by the trends we are seeing in our data since announcing our modified phase one reopening, but we must remain vigilant,” County Executive Angela Alsobrooks said in a statement. “All of our indicators tell us that COVID-19 is still active in our community and while I am eager to continue reopening our county, we must do so in a safe, smart and responsible manner that is data-driven.”

The county joins Montgomery County in maintaining a phase one reopening of businesses, which include carryout services for restaurants and farmer’s markets, curbside pickup at retail stores and gatherings of 10 or fewer people at churches and houses of worship.

Both jurisdictions continue to record the highest number of confirmed cases in the state and continue to rise above the state’s positivity test rate.

Baltimore City lifted some of its restrictions and moved into a phase one reopening of certain businesses Monday, June 8.

The remaining 21 counties in the state followed Gov. Larry Hogan’s stage two “Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery” plan, which allowed nonessential businesses to open.

For instance, residents can go to nail salons, visit tattoo parlors and tanning salons can also open but at 50 percent capacity by appointment only.

Offices such as real estate, financial institutions and advertising and architectural firms “will all be open and operational in Maryland.”

State agencies such as the Motor Vehicle Administration reopened Monday, June 8 at select branches.

In Prince George’s County, the Largo station will provide driver’s license renewals, driver’s tests and vehicle titles by appointment only.

One industry that remains on par deals with construction, especially in the D.C. area where drivers can view dust from construction vehicles hoisting bricks and other materials to build residential and commercial businesses.

The Maryland Department of Labor projects the state will produce slightly more than 171,000 construction jobs in the state this year, an 8 percent increase from two years ago at almost 158,000.

Columbia Enterprises, a general contractor established more than 25 years ago with offices in southeast D.C. and Camp Springs in the county, closed for about a week to implement safety and health protocols, said Patricia Mitchell, vice president of finance and administration for Columbia.

The Black-owned business with at least 20 employees currently works on one of the county’s biggest projects: the $543 million regional medical center under construction in Largo scheduled to open next year. The company helps to make sure certain parts of the project such as inspections are completed.

Mitchell said the coronavirus has slowed down progress to start new projects, but those already in effect remain steady. She said each site must provide sanitary stations, masks and gloves.

“Construction has been one industry, especially in the DMV, that has not been affected,” she said. “Our customers have looked at this as being able to get a lot of work done without a lot of traffic.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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