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Downtown Partnership launches coronavirus navigating webinar

Eric Costello

City Councilman Eric Costello will co-host the  coronavirus recovery webinar series, along with the Downtown Partnership’s interim President Shelonda Stokes. (The Daily Record/File Photo)

Downtown Partnership of Baltimore plans to launch a new webinar series to help neighborhood businesses and residents “navigate the coronavirus recovery.”

The first “Downtown Download” is slated for 9 a.m. Tuesday. It will be hosted by Councilman Eric Costello and Downtown Partnership’s Interim President Shelonda Stokes. Each week, according to the organization, new experts are expected to discuss various topics related to the diseases, and the neighborhood’s ability to rebound.

“The Downtown Download aims to cut through Covid-confusion with weekly news & guidance,” according to an email from the partnership.

Senate President Bill Ferguson is expected to be the first guest for the web event set for 9 a.m. Tuesday. Participants must register to attend ahead of time at www.GoDowntownBaltimore.com.

The Senate president, who represents downtown along with much of east and south Baltimore, is slated to discuss alterations to city and state services as a result of the pandemic.

Nearly 26,500 cases of the disease have been confirmed statewide as of Monday, with 2,411 cases in Baltimore. Across the state 1,216 residents have died from the illness.

Restrictions to business operations and social gatherings designed to impede the spread of the disease have nearly halted Maryland’s economy since early March. In the roughly six weeks since Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency more than 381,000 Marylanders filed for unemployment benefits.

Downtown Baltimore, historically, served as the city’s central business district. While the area has evolved to include more residential units, much of the neighborhood activity still stems from workers at offices closed as a result of Hogan’s executive orders.

Downtown is also home to most of Baltimore’s high-end hotels and tourist destinations. Due to the pandemic, the hospitality, retail and restaurants in the area, along with many of the tenants in the surrounding office buildings, face uncertain futures even after restrictions intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 are eased.

During the outbreak the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore has launched various initiatives to help bolster some of these businesses. The organization launched a program called #CurbsideBaltimore that subsidizes gift card purchases at 25 restaurants and retailers downtown. For every $20 spent on a gift card the partnership chips in $10 to spend at that business.

The organization has tried to bolster the morale of the front-line workers in the area during the pandemic by releasing a video titled “Thank You” that documents “how things are not business as usual downtown.” The Downtown Partnership of Baltimore also joined Harbor Park Garage to provide free meals to anyone in need through the Heart of the Park program.

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