York City Council votes to extend COVID-19 disaster declaration

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
York City Council members, from left, H. Michael Buckingham, Vice President Sandie Walker, President Henry Nixon, Judy Ritter-Dixon and Edquina Washington take the stage during a York City Council Town Hall Meeting at Logos Academy in York City, Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

York City's COVID-19 disaster declaration has been extended for 60 days, and any gatherings with more than 50 people in business or recreational facilities have been banned.

York City Council unanimously passed the extension of the disaster declaration extension Tuesday night. There have been at least 130 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state as of Wednesday morning, two of which are in York County, according to state officials. 

"These are unique and unprecedented times for the world, country, Pennsylvania and our city," said Phillip Given, acting director of community and economic development. "The challenges ahead are the same challenges all Americans are currently facing."

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The city's parking garages will all be free for the duration of the emergency declaration.

City Council meetings will be suspended until the declaration is lifted. In case of an emergency, council will meet on April 7. 

The city has also prohibited in-person City Hall visits until at least April 17, which is subject to change. Residents can, however, schedule an appointment.

The city's sewer amnesty and refuse bill amnesty program, which has been lauded by city officials, has also been suspended until further notice. 

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich first signed a seven-day emergency declaration last week, which was "primarily educational." That still remains true.

The declaration is primarily meant to provide the city more flexibility in utilizing resources to contain the spread of the virus as well as better educate the public about best health practices.

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