York City ramps up enforcement of Wolf's restaurant, bar order

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 has beefed up its enforcement on bars, restaurants and public gatherings to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, with noncompliance leading to a fine of as much as $1,000.

Beginning Thursday, the city fire department and Permits, Planning and Parking Bureau will investigate any apparent cases of noncompliance regarding the orders of Gov. Tom Wolf and the city itself limiting food service and crowd size.

Earlier this week, Wolf banned dine-in services at bars and restaurants and prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people. 

"The overall message here is that we need to ensure we are keeping these gatherings to a minimum for health and safety reasons," Fire Chief Chad Deardorff said.

Most, if not all, restaurants in the city are complying thus far, Deardorff added.

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Wolf also "strongly urged" other nonessential businesses — salons, gyms and the like —  to shutter on Monday.

City officials have strongly suggested avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people.

The ability to fine those who don't follow the guidelines set by the Wolf administration and the city falls under the city's occupancy code, Deardorff said.

The city's announcement came shortly after the state announced there were 185 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania, two of which are in York County.

There has been one confirmed coronavirus-related death, in Northampton County.

Earlier this week, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich also announced the elimination of City Hall visits for 60 days unless residents make an appointment.

City Council meetings during that time period will also be suspended, except for emergencies.

Additionally, the city has indefinitely suspended its sewer and refuse bill amnesty program and made parking garages free.

Street parking outside of the Market District will also be free. Parking in the area that will still be enforced is marked "parking enforced on Saturdays." 

Those areas include:

  • Market Street from Pershing Avenue to Duke Street
  • Philadelphia Street from Pershing Avenue to Duke Street
  • George Street from King Street to Gay Avenue
  • Beaver Street from King Street to Gas Avenue

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