Mayor’s update on COVID-19

Executive Office of the Mayor
Eddie Moran

PRESS CONFERENCE
March 20, 2020 – Mayor’s update on COVID-19

Thank you for joining me here today. Due to the constantly evolving “coronavirus” pandemic (COVID-19), the rapidly increasing number of confirmed positive cases in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the recommended protocols for coronavirus prevention and mitigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). Allow me to share how we have arrived to this point as I announce additional measures.

Some of the actions my administration has taken are:

  • On March 13th, I hosted our federal, state, county, and local partners in a press conference where we went over the best health practices established by the CDC and The Pennsylvania Department of Health on to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus
  • Just a few days later on March 16th, with the support of Reading City council I signed a Declaration of Disaster Emergency.
  • The next day, on March 17th, we made the extraordinary decision to close City Hall to the public to help prevent person-to-person contact.

 

There is no playbook available to us on how we should operate in the days and weeks ahead. I can assure you that we have analyzed the situation further and our responses to this developing COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear we need to do more. This is an evolving and fluid situation which mandates flexibility and the need to make very difficult and proactive decisions to protect the wellbeing of all concerned.

Therefore, I have taken the unprecedented action to close city hall to all non-essential employees effective today at 4 PM for an indefinite time period. All other non-essential employees will tele-work, and the day-to-day operations of City Hall will continue. I have taken this measure to play our part in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 among our employees, their families and within our great City of Reading as a whole.

All public safety departments, including the Police Department, Fire Department, Office of Emergency Management, will remain fully staffed. This also includes other critical services such as sanitation, water, and sewage that also will remain fully staffed and operational.

I want to be clear, all city employees will continue to receive their normal pay and benefits, including health care, whether they are continuing to work from their office, from home, or if their job duties have been reduced. The City remains committed to delivering critical services to our residents throughout this difficult time.

Now and in the weeks ahead, perhaps more than ever, Reading residents will rely on us to deliver for them, to cushion the blow from this terrible disruption, and extend a hand to those most in need. However, we must balance our mission of service delivery with the need to keep our workforce and the community safe and these new policies are designed to do just that.

During these challenging times we cannot proceed with business as usual when the health and welfare of our residents and communities are at risk. The City of Reading, and I as your Mayor, will always work in your best interests as we navigate these turbulent times.

I want to publicly thank all the non-profits organizations and individuals who have stepped up to the plate to provide services during these trying times. To name a few:

  • Helping Harvest
  • Reading School District
  • The Reading Rec Commission
  • The Olivet’s Boys and Girls Club
  • Faith-based institutions
  • El Centro Hispano

 

And many others too numerous to say all here. It is clear that many people have taken my advice to be good neighbors to all, your actions have not gone unnoticed. It is because of those actions that I am optimistic that we will get through this together.

Finally, I want to thank our city employees for their efforts to keep our government running efficiently and effectively. I also want to thank our first-responders who are working tirelessly to fight back against a moving target. I also thank their families for lending them to us in service.

And of course, I want to thank our Federal, State, County, and local partners because I know that we cannot do this without their support.

Remember, as Governor Tom Wolf has stated… Stay Calm, Stay Home, and Stay Safe.

Thank you, God Bless our city, and country.