Coronavirus Update: June 15, 2020

June 15, 2020

Dear Friend,

Last week, I held a telephone town hall to answer your questions about the important issues facing our nation. In case you missed it, see below.

Here's a quick recap of the latest news and information about COVID-19.

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Updates from Washington

  • Fighting for the USPS: I joined a bipartisan group of more than 135 Members of Congress in calling for $25 billion in emergency funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS). The USPS delivers critical supplies, including prescription medication and household essentials, to Marylanders and Americans across the country. It also plays a key role in ensuring a fair and accurate count in the 2020 Census. And as we face this pandemic, we will rely on USPS to help deliver more mail-in ballots than ever before.
  • Expanding Support for Essential Workers: At a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, I called for better wages, benefits and workplace protections for essential workers across America.

New Federal Support for Maryland

  • Securing Additional COVID-19 Relief for Marylanders Experiencing Homelessness: The Delegation announced nearly $35 million in COVID-19 relief to help individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. The funding will be used to support homeless assistance and eviction prevention assistance for families and individuals who are newly experiencing homelessness as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Supporting Maryland’s Health Care Systems and Infrastructure: The Delegation announced nearly $19 million in federal funding to help the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) cover the costs of responding to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  • Providing Relief to Maryland Renters and Homeowners: The Delegation announced more than $2.3 million in federal funding for Maryland renters and homeowners struggling with the economic impact of COVID-19.

Accountability in Maryland

  • Urging Gov. Hogan to Fix Maryland’s Broken Unemployment Insurance System: I joined the Maryland Congressional Delegation in calling on Governor Hogan to fix the state’s Unemployment Insurance system and improve the delivery of critical financial benefits to Marylanders during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Demanding More Information about State COVID-19 Testing: The Maryland Congressional Delegation urged Governor Hogan to publicly release his plan to use $205 million in federal funding secured by the Delegation to ramp up COVID-19 testing across the state. The Governor was required to submit the plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) by Saturday, May 30.
  • Improving Access to Maryland’s Civil Justice System: I joined Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D), the Maryland Congressional Delegation, leading Maryland nonprofit organizations and key officials from the Maryland legal community to launch the Attorney General’s COVID-19 Access to Justice Task Force, a coalition to help ensure that Marylanders can access a fair and equitable civil justice system amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

New Steps Toward Reopening

  • Over the last few weeks, Maryland has taken several steps toward reopening. As you consider whether to take part in these activities, I strongly recommend that you and your families approach them cautiously. COVID-19 continues to spread in Maryland and across the country. Without any effective vaccines or treatments to combat the virus, we continue to remain at risk. Please continue to follow public health guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Maryland Department of Health by socially distancing as much as possible, wearing masks when you are in public spaces and staying home if you can.
    • On Friday, May 29, Maryland allowed restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining and allow Marylanders to resume several kinds of outdoor recreational activities – with limitations – including youth sports, youth day camps, outdoor swimming pools and drive-in movie theaters.
    • On Friday, June 5, non-essential businesses in Maryland reopened. Businesses that reopen must adhere to public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes wearing face coverings, checking the temperature of employees and limiting the number of employees in a workspace at any given time by rotating employee hours and staggering shift times. Employees who can telework are strongly encouraged to continue teleworking.
    • On Friday, June 12, Maryland allowed summer school, non-public special education school and child care centers to reopen with a limit of 15 children and staff per room. Maryland will also allow indoor dining to resume, with restaurants operating at 50 percent capacity and tables spaced six feet apart. Restaurants, employees and customers must follow public health guidelines to protect against the spread of the virus. Outdoor activities, like mini-golf and go-karts, will also be able to resume, operating at 50 percent capacity.
    • Beginning on June 19, gyms, indoor fitness establishments, malls, arcades and casinos will be allowed to open at 50 percent capacity. All patrons and employees much adhere to COVID-19 public health guidance.
    • Please note that reopening rules and guidance are ultimately determined by your local county governments. Visit your county website for the latest information about reopening rules in your community.

For regular updates and information about the coronavirus, you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter.

For a full list of coronavirus-related resources, please visit my website.


Congressman John Sarbanes
Maryland’s Third Congressional District