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City of Lancaster Declares State of Emergency

March 17, 2020 | Mayor's Office

Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine have issued Stay at Home orders for Lancaster County. Read more at www.cityoflancasterpa.com/covid-19-stay-at-home-order.

As of 12:01 a.m. today, in consultation with the County of Lancaster, the City of Lancaster has declared a State of Emergency as we plan for the local and regional presence of the COVID-19 virus, known as coronavirus.

This action follows those of the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the President of the United States and is the result of ongoing collaboration and consultation between the mayor’s office, City administrative departments, School District of Lancaster, County of Lancaster and other local and state health and emergency management officials. A state of emergency has been deemed necessary to ensure the continuation of essential services to our residents during this public health emergency. Declaring a state of emergency is a grave act and affords the City more flexibility to act quickly outside of time-consuming procedures and formalities and provides a pathway for possible support from the federal government.

In conjunction with the State of Emergency declared, it is ordered that:

– The Treasury office is closed to the public.

– Our housing code inspectors are currently addressing only serious life and safety issues. If you are a renter / tenant in the City of Lancaster and have an urgent problem such as no heat, no water, no hot water, or structural deficiencies (such as unstable walls, floors, foundations, ceilings or support beams) please call (717) 291-4706 and leave a message. Staff will be checking voicemail every hour and will return your call.

– The Governor has ordered the closure of non-essential businesses statewide to slow the spread of the coronavirus. At the Governor’s request, Lancaster City Police will be supporting this by advising businesses that need to close. The list of non-essential businesses can be found here.

– A list of available meals for children at Lancaster County schools and other meal offerings can be found here.

– City operations will be restricted to essential personnel as determined by respective department directors and chiefs;

– All public safety operations will continue;

– Water and sewer operations will continue;

– Trash collection will continue; and

– Measures to support our most vulnerable neighbors are taken, including the provision of temporary hand washing and public restrooms in public parks throughout the city and support for organizations ensuring food availability to those in need.

As well, it is ordered that until further notice that the following services be suspended or amended:

– Recycling Drop-Off Center is closed (re-opened with limited hours as of April 22);

– Treasury Office will remain open but only for drive-through traffic;

– Water shut-offs are suspended;

– Visitor Center is closed;

– City Council and all boards, authorities and commissions meetings are cancelled (some may be virtual, check in with the board, authority or commission to find out);

– Housing and lead inspections are suspended;

– Street sweeping is suspended (resumed as of April 22);

– Petting zoo at Long’s Park is closed;

– Dog park at Buchanan Park is closed; and

– Water meter upgrade appointments are suspended.

In accordance with Governor Wolf’s Emergency Declaration on Monday, we strongly urge all non-essential businesses to close for at least 14 days. The governor required restaurants to close dine-in services. Restaurants may remain open for carry-out and delivery orders. This action protects employees, customers, and suppliers and limits the spread of the virus.

It is also advised that places of worship, social organizations, clubs and nonprofit entities limit person to person contact and provide for social distancing.

Essential services and sectors include but are not limited to food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, feed mills, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair/hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and healthcare, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and pet stores, warehousing, storage, and distribution, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.  

We do not take this step lightly. As public servants we will do everything in our power to provide essential services for the public good of our City residents.  We regret having to close or limit services normally provided. Our Emergency Management team will continue to monitor the public health emergency closely and is prepared respond to any contingencies that arise.

The City will provide residents with updates daily, though social media and the City website:




We ask Lancaster residents to comply with the many requests to stay home, follow recommendations for social distancing and slow the spread of this virus. We are grateful for the network of caring individuals, businesses and organizations that make Lancaster such a unique and hospitable place. We know that as a community we will rise to this challenge, together.