York County to hold outdoor naturalization ceremony
The bells toll at St. James Lutheran Church on West Market Street in Hallam to honor essential workers during the pandemic York Dispatch
Six people will become naturalized U.S. citizens in an outdoor ceremony at 2 p.m. Tuesday on the steps of the York County Administrative Center.
The regular ceremony was canceled because of COVID-19, said Allison Blew, York County prothonotary.
"I don’t know when we will be able to have larger naturalization ceremonies that we usually have, so to prevent a backlog, we came up with this solution," she said.
Naturalization ceremonies are usually held in the old ceremonial courtroom at the county administrative center at 28 E. Market St. in York City.
There are four more ceremonies tentatively scheduled for May, with six people slated to be naturalized each time.
Common Pleas Judge Clyde W. Vedder will perform the ceremony Tuesday, Blew said, and Vedder and Common Pleas Judge Matthew D. Menges will share the responsibility for the remaining ceremonies.
Blew said she wants to see how well the set-up works before announcing the dates of the other ceremonies. She said county officials haven't yet decided if it will be necessary to have distance markers on the steps to remind attendees to keep 6 feet apart.
The prospective citizens will be allowed to bring two or three family members, Blew said.
"The naturalization ceremony is the culmination of years of hard work toward becoming a U.S. citizen, and I’m happy that we have found a way to grant citizenship to these U.S. citizens," she said. "I hope that this is a hopeful, happy ceremony in these uncertain times of the pandemic."
As of Sunday, 773 people in York County have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 13 virus-related deaths.
Statewide, 56,611 people have tested positive, and there have been 3,707 virus-related deaths.