These are scary times.
I will forever remember March 10, 2020. I was walking down Redwood Street in Baltimore to my firm’s office in the Blaustein Building, a 24-story town in the sky, when I received a text advising that the Office of the Attorney General at 201 St. Paul Place was evacuated on the report of an employee with “flu-like” symptoms. It wasn’t COVID-19, thankfully, but my team immediately began to activate our office’s COVID-19 plan.
On that Friday, Governor Larry Hogan announced that all Marylanders should follow the Maryland COVID-19 plan. Much has changed in the days that have followed.
I was born in 1965. We were a television generation. I was shaped by the VietNam War, Richard Nixon, and the annual broadcast of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments on Easter.
Sunday night (black and white for us). The television Moses perplexed me in the days before I could read. He was an unwilling leader, very different from then President Nixon who really wanted the job.
That television Moses ignited my interest in leaders, leadership and being a good leader, which I inferred from the television Moses was important. In my adolescence, I asked my father what made a leader.
His answer: “The first one with a plan.” His explanation was logical. Leaders emerge in times of conflict and crisis – conditions that could lead to chaos. People will follow the leader with a plan. A plan will establish order, which is better than chaos. Once order is established, you can work as a team to protect life and escape danger.
The Governor had a plan. Our county and municipal leaders have signed onto the plan. He has had the cooperation of the Legislative and Judicial Branches. The President has triggered the Stafford Act empowering the Governor to call up the National Guard and active duty military to help keep the peace, protect the supply chain, and support the medical mission and humanitarian mission.
All governmental functions continue
Courts are ensuring procedural due process for the criminally charged and those needing protective orders, while temporarily halting hearings and trials. The County Commissioners, the Board of Education and five municipal councils have closed their physical doors, but are keeping their jurisdictions running with staff working remotely. Elected bodies and public boards are closing their meetings except to only a limited number of the public, but ensuring press access as they find their way to live streaming. Kent County Public Schools and private secondary schools are deploying Google Classroom. Parents are re-energizing those long dormant academic strengths.
Local restaurants, grocery stores, and other essential businesses are responding to the COVID-19 challenges with helpful solutions; such as, filling phone-in and online orders, providing curbside pick up and making deliveries.
As we follow the plan, we all must be leaders. The Eastern Shore has been spared widespread infection so far. Let’s keep it that way. Set the example and take COVID-19 deadly seriously.
Safe practices are simple: Wash hands and disinfect surfaces. Practice “social distancing.” Stay at home. Work from home. For more guidance, visit the CDC website (cdc.gov) and the Office of the Governor website (governor.maryland.gov.) The Kent Pilot interview with Dr. Wendy Cronin is also a helpful resource.
In Kent County, we are listening. Be vigilant and stay safe.