West Reading Mayor Andrew Kearney issued an emergency proclamation. This is a precautionary step to allow for a more efficient flow of resources to address the spread of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania.
“While there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community, our primary concern is to keep our residents safe and healthy. Taking this precautionary measure will allow us to be better prepared in the days to come.” Said Mayor Andrew Kearney.
The emergency declaration gives the Borough of West Reading the tools needed to fully respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by freeing up resources, streamlining administrative command, and activating the borough’s Pandemic Response Plan. The proclamation also opens the door to federal and state resources.
“This is the strongest action we can take at this time to ensure the wellbeing of our community. We’re encouraging all residents to continue to exercise precautions laid out by state and federal health agencies. We’re going to get through this together, but we’re all going to have to do our part.” said Council President Jack Gombach.
Residents should continue to exercise basic precautions; thoroughly washing hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. If you have any questions regarding your health or conditions, please contact your primary care doctor. Please see the Proclamation below:
BOROUGH OF WEST READING,
BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
PROCLAMATION OF LOCAL DISASTER EMERGENCY
WHEREAS, a novel coronavirus (now known as “COVID-19”) emerged in Wuhan, China, began infecting humans in December 2019, and has since spread to eighty-nine (89) countries, including the United States; and
WHEREAS, the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) have declared COVID-19 a “public health emergency of international concern,” and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Secretary has declared that COVID-19 creates a public health emergency; and
WHEREAS, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States, by authority of the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including Sections 201 and 301 of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601, et seq.) and consistent with Section 1135 of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1320b-5), declared that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constitutes a national emergency, beginning March 1, 2020; and
WHEREAS, Thomas W. Wolf, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (“Commonwealth”), pursuant to the provisions of Subsection 730(c) of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Services Code, 35 Pa. C.S. § 7101, et seq., proclaimed the existence of a disaster emergency throughout the Commonwealth on March 6, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the Commonwealth, in collaboration with the CDC, HHS and local health agencies to monitor and plan for the containment and subsequent mitigation of COVID-19, activated its Department Operations Center and the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s headquarters to conduct public health and medical coordination for COVID-19 throughout the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, on March 4, 2020 the Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency ordered the activation of its Commonwealth Response Coordination Center in support of the Department of Health’s Department Operations Center, to maintain situational awareness and coordinate the response to any potential COVID-19 impacts across the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, as of March 16, 2020 there are seventy-five (75) confirmed and/or presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth; and
WHEREAS, while it is anticipated that a high percentage of those affected by COVID-19 will experience mild influenza-like symptoms, COVID-19 is a disease capable of causing severe symptoms or loss of life, particularly to older populations and those individuals with pre-existing conditions; and
WHEREAS, with seventy-five (75) presumed positive cases of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth as of March 16, 2020, the possible increased threat from COVID-19 constitutes a threat of imminent disaster to the health of the citizens of the Borough; and
WHEREAS, this threat of imminent disaster and emergency has the potential to cause significant adverse impacts upon the population throughout the Borough; and
WHEREAS, this threat of imminent disaster and emergency has already caused schools, including but not limited to Wyomissing Area School District, to close and will likely prompt additional local measures, including the declaration by other local municipal governments to declare local disaster emergencies because of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, it is critical to prepare for and to be ready to respond to cases of COVID-19 in the in the Borough of West Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania (“Borough”) by implementing measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to permit the Borough to be eligible for any and all federal, state and county disaster emergency funds that may become available; and
WHEREAS, this threat of imminent disaster and emergency situation throughout the Borough is of such magnitude and severity as to require the activation of the West Reading Pandemic Response Plan and any and all other applicable Borough emergency management and emergency response plans.
NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to the provisions of Subsection 10A06(b) of the Pennsylvania Borough Code, 8 Pa.C.S.A. §§101, et seq., as amended, and Subsection 7501(b) of the Pennsylvania Emergency and the Pennsylvania Management Services Code, 35 Pa. C.S. § 7101, et seq., as amended, I do hereby authorize Nicholas Imbesi, the Borough Manager (“Borough Manager”), or his designee, for a period of seven (7) days from the date of this Declaration, which period of time may be extended by resolution of Borough Council, to assume command and control of all Borough emergency operations and authorize and direct that all Borough departments and agencies utilize all available resources and personnel as is deemed necessary by the Borough Manager from time to time to cope with this emergency situation, for such length of time as may be necessary to respond to this emergency situation, in order to activate the response and recovery aspects of the West Reading Pandemic Response Plan and any and all other applicable local emergency management and emergency response plans and to authorize the furnishing of aid and assistance thereunder.
FURTHER, I hereby transfer to the Borough Manager, or his designee, such amounts of Borough unused funds as may be approved by Borough Council from time to time during this emergency situation for Emergency Management Assistance expenses related to this emergency, as conditions require. The aforementioned funds shall be used for expenses authorized by Borough Council and incurred related to this emergency. I hereby direct that any funds transferred herein that remain unused after all costs related to this emergency have been satisfied shall be returned to the Borough’s general fund. This Proclamation shall serve as the written determination of the basis for such emergency.
FURTHER, I hereby suspend all or any provisions of any Borough ordinance or resolution if strict compliance with the provisions thereof would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with this emergency. The Borough Manager may implement emergency assignments without regard to procedures required by other Borough ordinances or resolutions, except mandatory constitutional requirements, pertaining to performance of public work, incurring of obligations, employment of temporary workers, rental of equipment, purchase of supplies and materials, and expenditures of Borough public funds, as may be necessary to meet this emergency, all without regard to those time consuming procedures and formalities normally prescribed by law, mandatory constitutional requirements excepted.
FURTHER, I hereby authorize the Borough Manager to use all available Borough resources and personnel in whatever manner the Borough Manager reasonably deems necessary during this emergency to assist in addressing the consequences of this emergency for such length of time as may be necessary to respond to this emergency and as authorized by this Proclamation, as may be extended by Borough Council.
FURTHER, I hereby authorize Stephen D. Powell, the Borough Chief of Police (“Police Chief”) to use all available Borough Police Department resources and personnel in whatever manner the Police Chief reasonably deems necessary during this emergency to assist the actions of the Borough Manager in addressing the consequences of this emergency for such length of time as may be necessary to respond to this emergency and as authorized by this Proclamation, as may be extended by Borough Council.
FURTHER, I hereby direct that the West Reading Pandemic Response Plan and any and all other applicable Borough emergency management and emergency response plans be activated and that any and all actions be taken as may be necessary to implement such plans, including but not limited to implementing curfews and closing Borough-owned properties and Borough parks, all of which shall be coordinated and implemented through the Borough Manager.
GIVEN under my hand and the seal of the Borough, in the Borough of West Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania, this 17th day of March, 2020.
BOROUGH OF WEST READING,
BERKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA
By: Andrew Kearney, Mayor