Harrisburg’s mayor issued a message to residents today with reassurance that vital city services are continuing, while debunking several “rumors.”
In a video message, Mayor Eric Papenfuse said that city employees are still working and that essential services are being delivered.
“All essential city services are continuing uninterrupted,” said Papenfuse, who added that the Fire Bureau fought a fire on Locust Street just this morning. “At this time, all of our employees in the city are healthy, and they are eager to serve you.”
The city’s MLK Jr. Government Center is closed to the public, but municipal employees are still at work, either on site in city hall or at their homes, the city has said previously.
Papenfuse spent much of his short, two-minute-plus address debunking “two rumors that we’re hearing in the community.”
The first, he said, was if residents were allowed to go outside. The answer, he said, was “most assuredly yes.”
“Go outside, go for a run, walk your dog, go to the pharmacy, go to the grocery store, take out your trash—engage in these types of outdoors activities,” he said. “Just, when you do so, stay away from gathering in large groups, practice sensible social distancing, maybe stay six feet apart from others, and wash your hands and practice good hygiene both before and after you go outside.”
Residents also are calling city hall to ask if grocery stores will close or will be depleted, Papenfuse said.
“I want to assure you that grocery stories will remain open, and they will not run out of food,” he said.
Grocery stores, he said, are not subject to Gov. Tom Wolf’s order to shut down most business locations and will remain open. And this includes not just major supermarkets but other stores that carry food such as Wal-Mart, Dollar General and Target.
“There is absolutely no need to hoard any types of groceries or stockpile them,” he said. “Grocery stores will remain open.”
Lastly, he appealed for calm and a continuing sense of community.
“Remember, Harrisburg, we are all in this together,” he said. “Stay calm, stay positive, be patient, be kind to one another, and this, too, shall pass.”