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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A new grant program will allow restaurants in Baltimore City to apply for reimbursement of fees incurred while starting or expanding their outdoor seating capacity.

The Small Business Rebate Program is the latest effort in Mayor Young’s Outdoor Seating Relief Program and Outdoor Dining and Street Closure Program.

Restaurants are eligible to receive grants to help reimburse all of the permitting costs they had to pay to allow outdoor table service.

“As restaurants continue to responsibly scale up their outdoor dining operations, we want to make sure to provide assistance where we can,” Mayor Young said. “This rebate program will help restaurants defray costs during what remains a very challenging time for our small businesses.”

Restaurant owners can apply for the grants by visiting here. The rebate program will be operated by the Baltimore Civic Fund.

“We want to ensure a seamless, efficient process so that restaurants can focus on opening their doors,” said HyeSook Chung, President of the Civic Fund. “We are thrilled to be able support our small businesses in this way.”

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

News Source: cbslocal.com

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Bill Would Grant Emergency Powers to Hawaii Health Director

HONOLULU (AP) — The Hawaii state health director could declare a public health emergency, order quarantine and contact tracing, and temporarily close schools and businesses through a measure under consideration by lawmakers.

The proposal would also allow the Department of Health director to prohibit the sale of coronavirus tracing information. The bill would grant the director with some responsibilities currently held by the governor.

Health Director Bruce Anderson said he supports the proposal spearheaded by Attorney General Clare Connors.

“I’m sure we’re going to see more pandemics and being ready to respond quickly and appropriately is going to be key to keeping these incidents under control," Anderson said.

The bill would give the director more flexibility in dealing with health emergencies, Anderson said.

“It gets you around the politics," he said. “You’re taking actions that are appropriate.”

Kauai Councilwoman Felicia Cowden said she worries about abuses of power.

"It’s a very big taking of authority, and what we’ve seen in the past in the four months is the governor already has the power that’s being asked for in the bill,” Cowden said.

The Grassroot Institute of Hawaii said the bill grants too much authority to the health director and raises concerns about accountability and civil liberties.

Hawaii’s emergency power statute already allows the governor to delegate responsibilities, while the bill would give some of the governor's powers to an unelected official, institute Policy Director Malia Hill said.

“That lack of accountability is an issue," Hill said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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Tags: Hawaii

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