Hamburg Borough Mayor George Holmes issued a proclamation of disaster emergency for Hamburg regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic on Monday morning, March 23.
"This threat of imminent disaster and emergency has the potential to cause significant adverse impacts upon the population throughout the Borough," the proclamation reads. "It is critical to prepare for and be ready to respond to cases of COVID-19 in the Borough of Hamburg, Berks County by implementing measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to permit the Borough to be eligible for any all federal, state and county disaster emergency funds that may become available. This threat of imminent danger and emergency situation through the Borough is of such magnitude and severity as to require the activation of recovery aspects of any and all applicable local emergency management and response plans."
The proclamation was issued in coordination with Borough Council and officials and takes effect immediately.
"Residents should remain in their homes until further notice, and should travel only when necessary. Local businesses that are not considered life sustaining are highly encouraged to close as well," said Holmes in a release to media. "Pennsylvania State Police have been tasked by the Governor to enforce his Executive Order."
Holmes authorized Borough Manager Marisa Lenceski and Emergency Management Coordinator Troy Hatt to enact emergency response plans to preserve public health and safety.
According to the proclamation, the Mayor transferred to the Borough Manager unused Borough funds as may be approved by Council during this emergency situation to be used for emergency management assistance expenses as conditions require.
"The funds shall be used for expenses authorized by Borough Council and incurred related to this emergency," according to the proclamation.
The proclamation also suspends any provisions of Borough ordinances or resolutions if strict compliance would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action. The Borough Manager may implement emergency assignments without regard to procedures, except mandatory constitutional requirements, pertaining to public work, incurring of obligations of temporary workers, rental of equipment, purchase of supplies and materials, and expenditures of Borough public funds as may be necessary without regard to those time consuming procedures and formalities normally prescribed by law.
The proclamation also authorizes Chief of Police Anthony Kuklinski to take public safety measures consistent with emergency response plans.
The proclamation must be ratified by Borough Council within seven days in order to be extended.
The Borough of Hamburg previously closed both the Municipal Center and recreation areas to public access to order to prevent contact spread of COVID-19. This includes closing public access to the Etchberger Memorial Park play equipment and ball fields.
"The Borough will continue to provide critical government services during this period, albeit utilizing public health principles such as social distancing to prevent virus transmission," said Holmes. "The Hamburg Police Department continues to operate on a 24/7 basis to provide police protection in the Borough."