Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg declares emergency, shuts public access to city government buildings due to epidemic

Harrisburg’s MLK Jr. Government Center

Harrisburg has issued an emergency declaration and will shut down city government buildings to the public until further notice.

Effective on Tuesday, all official city buildings will close to the public, including the MLK Jr. Government Center, the Public Works building and the Reservoir Park Mansion.

The city will continue to provide all essential functions and services, according to Mayor Eric Papenfuse.

“We are all in this together,” Papenfuse said, in a statement. “I encourage the community to adhere to Gov. Wolf’s directives and use precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.”

Most city workers will continue to work, some remotely, Papenfuse said. The public can use the drop box at the rear of the building to pay bills, submit forms and drop off other items, he said.

Because of the closure, Tuesday’s City Council work session has been cancelled, and the deadline for residential parking permits has been extended through the end of April.

For inquiries, residents are encouraged to fill out the city’s online support form at, email or call the city’s 311 help desk, which will continue to operate.

Likewise, Dauphin County late on Monday declared a disaster emergency and will close county government offices to the public until further notice, effective end-of-day on Tuesday. All events and activities at county facilities have also been cancelled.

County residents who want to pay a tax bill or drop off a voter registration form or absentee/mail-in ballot can deposit items in a locked box near the entrance of the Dauphin County Administration Building on 2nd Street in Harrisburg, according to the county. The Dauphin County Courthouse will also have a secure box near the entrance on Market Street where documents can be dropped off, the county stated in a release.

At this time, there are no known confirmed cases of coronavirus within Dauphin County, according to the state Department of Health.

Earlier on Monday, Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all “non-essential stores” to be closed throughout the commonwealth, including bars, restaurants, gyms, retail outlets and salons, though restaurants can sell through delivery and takeout. The shutdown is expected to last “at least two weeks.” Essential businesses to remain open include grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies.

Also, all Fine Wine & Good Spirit stores will close at the end of business on Tuesday until further notice.

Statewide, the department on Tuesday reported 96 confirmed cases, including 10 in Cumberland County, though none yet in Dauphin County.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our residents, especially the elderly and most vulnerable,” Papenfuse said. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this disaster emergency.”

For more information, visit the city’s website.

This story has been updated to include information from the commonwealth and the emergency declaration from Dauphin County.

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