Ocean Pines on Monday announced several operational changes and closings related to COVID-19 (Coronavirus) concerns.
Gov. Larry Hogan on March 5 announced the state’s first positive test for Coronavirus and declared a state of emergency, to help open certain funding channels. President Donald Trump declared a national state of emergency on March 13.
Hogan, yesterday, issued an emergency order to close all Maryland casinos, including Ocean Downs in Ocean Pines.
On Monday, Hogan also ordered all Maryland restaurants to close indefinitely, effective at 5 p.m. on March 16. This will include the Ocean Pines Yacht Club.
Hogan, on Monday, said there were more than 100 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the Washington, D.C. region, including 37 in Maryland.
“Americans should be prepared that they’re going to have to hunker down significantly more than we, as a country, are doing in order to fight this outbreak,” Hogan said during a March 16 press conference.
“We should continue to expect the number of cases to dramatically and rapidly rise. We have never faced anything like this before. This is going to be much harder, take much longer and be much worse than almost anyone is currently understanding,” Hogan added.
“Every single one of us needs to take serious actions to immediately limit day to day interactions and activities, and we need to do our part to stop this deadly virus from spreading,” Hogan said.
In a separate statement, Hogan recommended avoiding contact with people over the age of 60 and those with underlying health issues, the two demographics considered most at risk.
Ocean Pines began taking measures both to educate the public and slow the spread of Coronavirus on March 6.
“Like everyone, we’re concerned and are constantly monitoring the Coronavirus situation,” General Manager John Viola said. “We are following the guidelines mandated by Gov. Larry Hogan in Maryland, as well as any federal guidelines from the CDC and others.
“The safety of our homeowners, residents, guests and staff are foremost on our minds at this time, and we are doing everything we can to help slow the spread of Coronavirus in our community. Any additional closures and changes to the operation will be communicated through our website, www.oceanpines.org,” Viola added.
The following Ocean Pines departments have announced operational changes:
The Public Works office will be closed to the public effective immediately, with interactions available by phone and email only.
Public Works Director Eddie Wells said the Architectural Review Committee meetings would be suspended, with all necessary documents being signed electronically. Permits and inspections will be handled through email or fax approval.
The Public Works yard will be closed for the next two-to-three Saturdays, Wells said, and all Public Works staff will be under a liberal leave policy for the next 12-21 days.
The Sports Core Pool closed as of noon on March 16 and will remain closed through March 29. All activities and classes have been canceled during that period.
“We will start contacting people in our classes by phone,” Director of Amenities and Operational Logistics Colby Phillips said. “We will also have a front desk person available during the closure to take calls from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will work with everyone who is signed up for classes to have makeups or adjustments to the next starting session.”
Phillips said staff during the closure will “shock” the Sports Core Pool, a process that uses additional chlorine for sterilization. All furniture and surfaces will also be cleaned and disinfected.
RECREATION AND PARKS:
The Ocean Pines Community Center closed as of March 16 and will remain closed through March 29. All activities and classes have been canceled during that period.
Recreation and Parks Manager Debbie Donahue said the Ocean Pines Community Center would also receive a deep cleaning during the closure. The Recreation and Parks Department expects to reopen on March 30.
Donahue said Easter special events are currently under review. Family Fun Night, scheduled for March 20, will be cancelled.
Recreation and Parks Department staff will remain in the office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday, to answer phones and continue with registration for classes and future room rentals. Staff will also continue to clean the building.
Ocean Pines Golf operations will remain open for the foreseeable future, according to Golf General Manager John Malinowski.
Staff is wiping down shop surfaces, steering wheels and handrails, and Malinowski said a communication would go out soon to the entire Golf email database. All flags sticks have been removed. Any further updates will be posted to www.oceanpines.org and www.oceanpinesgolf.org.
FOOD AND BEVERAGE:
The Ocean Pines Yacht Club will offer delivery only, available Wednesday-Sunday from 4-9 p.m. Orders will be taken starting at 3:30 p.m. by calling 410-641-7501. For special menu options, visit www.opyachtclub.com/post/yacht-club-temporarily-moves-to-delivery-only.
The Administration Building front desk closed to the public indefinitely, as of March 18. Payments will be accepted by phone by calling 410-641-7717, or by using the drop box in the Administraiton Building lobby, open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
All closings are subject to change, based on state and federal government requirements. All other Ocean Pines facilities will remain open at this time, with staff following cleaning and safety guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Anyone who is ill has been asked to stay home.
All Ocean Pines departments can be reached by phone. For department listings, visit www.oceanpines.org.
Throughout the Coronavirus crisis, Ocean Pines will also continue to coordinate with neighboring communities and with the Worcester County Health Department.
The Health Department created a website dedicated to local Coronavirus news and information: https://worcesterhealth.org/protect-menu/1711-coronavirus-corvid-19-information-2020.
Additionally, the Health Department opened a call center, available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by dialing 410-632-1100 option #8.
The State of Maryland also has a hotline, available by dialing 2-1-1.
Local information about closures and other updates related to Coronavirus is available through a new Town of Ocean City webpage, https://oceancitymd.gov/oc/coronavirus-information/.
For more information on Coronavirus through the Maryland Department of Health, visit https://phpa.health.maryland.gov/Pages/Novel-coronavirus.aspx.
For information on Coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control, visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.