City of Easton COVID-19 Emergency Declaration - Mayor Sal Panto Jr.

COVID-19 Executive Order Provisions  

The following policies and procedures are hereby decreed by Executive Order, but these may change on a daily basis based on the level of the virus and our ability to flatten the curve.

1. Public access to city buildings will not be allowed throughout this pandemic.  

2. To compensate for a potential million-dollar revenue shortfall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a moratorium is placed on all purchases and projects of the city, with the exception for purchases and costs associated with this Declaration, which expenses must be approved by the City Administrator.

3. All city employees are essential to the service of our residents therefore all city employees are required to report to duty, unless they are sick.  All city policies regarding sick leave will be enforced but exceptions can be made for extenuating circumstances with the approval of the Director and City Administrator.  If it becomes necessary for furloughs, layoffs or to accommodate people working from home, the Administration will meet with union leaders to discuss ideas that are mutually beneficial to our employees as well as our residents.  

4. Each Director have developed and will continue to develop COVID-19 protocols to be followed by their employees.  For example, Code Officials will concentrate their efforts on vacant buildings and buildings under construction and will avoid occupied housing unless it is an emergency and then all personal protective equipment will be worn.

5. City Administration may alter employee shifts, work schedules, lunch and breaks to allow for social distancing.

6. The PA Sunshine Law is important to the city’s elected officials and as such new technology will be purchased to allow the public to participate in City Council meetings  The City will have this technology  installed by the March 25th meeting of Council (which must be held to extend the Emergency Declaration executed by the Mayor) and will utilize this software during the COVID-19 crisis for all other public meetings if held. Further details on how the public can access these public meetings will be forthcoming.

7. All City sponsored sports events, practices and special events or festivals at City facilities or in city right of way (streets) are canceled through March 31, 2020.  This will be re-assessed at that time to determine any extensions to this Declaration.  As per the Governor, this Declaration will not impact the outdoor Winter Farmers’ Market and arrangements have been made to allow for curbside service.

8. At the urging of the President of the United States and the Governor of this Commonwealth, City staff shall not conduct in-person meetings with more than ten persons present.  Even in smaller meetings employees are required to use telephone conference calls where appropriate and in small group meetings under 10 individuals’ employees are required to maintain social separation of at least 4 to 6 feet where possible.

9. The City will curtail any residential municipal utility shut offs that may have been scheduled.

Small businesses are being affected more than most and as such I have authorized the city to work on having signs printed to provide for free 15-minute spots in front of any small business that is offering curbside pick-up.  

I am also working with the National League of Cities (NLC) and the US Conference of Mayors (USCM) to provide relief for our small businesses during this emergency as well as assistance to local municipalities.

I have also signed onto letters with my fellow elected officials across this great country that any bailout of large corporations should be accompanied by relief for small businesses and local municipalities. In Easton we project financial losses of one million dollars or more for evert four-week period that this emergency continues.  Our small businesses and residents will not be able to incur increased taxes to offset the projected loss in revenue.

The City will also:
•    curtail the booting of vehicles through March 30, 2020.
•    suspend citation late fees for penalties effective as of March 16, 2020 until April 15, 2020, to be reviewed and possibly extended.
•    street cleaning will not start on April 1st.  The City street cleaning program will begin on June 1, 2020.
•    allow for free parking in the city garages until March 30, 2020.


Respectfully

Salvatore J. Panto, Jr.