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York City shutters offices, suspends sewer amnesty program

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
York City Mayor Michael Helfrich demonstrates a method  to cover a cough during a press conference announcing a declaration of disaster emergency due to the COVID-19 virus Thursday, March 12, 2020. He also announced that York's Saint Patrick's Day parade was cancelled due to the Coronavirus threat. Bill Kalina photo

York City will close its offices for one month and suspend its sewer and refuse bill amnesty program indefinitely over COVID-19 concerns, officials announced Monday afternoon.

The move came hours after Gov. Tom Wolf declared a state of emergency, ordering all “nonessential”  businesses to close for at least two weeks. York City's actions will begin Tuesday and last until April 17, which is subject to change.

"Everyone in this room could have (COVID-19) in this room right now and nobody can know,” said York City Mayor Michael Helfrich. “It required different types of precautions.”

The recommendations were given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state Department of Health, the mayor said.

This past week, city officials lauded the amnesty program, which offered those in arrears a window to have some or all of their past due bills forgiven.  

More:Wolf urges nonessential businesses to close in some counties

More:UPDATED: The latest closings and cancellations in York County

More:The latest information on the coronovirus and COVID-19 from the CDC

City residents will now have to schedule appointments to enter City Hall. 

Some city employees will work remotely, and others will be be told to temporarily stay home without having to work. All employees will still be paid.

The York City Police Department, fire department and wastewater treatment plant will remain open 24/7, Helfrich said.

The city health bureau and health clinic will also be operational, but those seeking assistance must request an appointment by calling 717-849-2299.

Other concerns should be relayed by calling 717-849-2221 or emailing mayorsoffice@yorkcity.org.

In addition to the sewer amnesty program being suspended, street sweeping will be canceled.

Those with outstanding parking tickets, penalties and fees will only be able to pay online. Those unable to pay online can wait until the city reopens it offices without any additional charge.

The York City Ice Arena and Voni Grimes Gym will be closed until April 17.

There are 76 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state, none of which are in York County, according to the state Health Department.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.