The Morning Call

Eas­ton Mayor Panto or­ders city build­ings closed amid virus surge

- By An­thony Sala­m­one Morn­ing Call re­porter An­thony Sala­m­one can be reached at 610-820-6694 or asala­m­one@ mcall.com. Lehigh Valley · Allentown · Bethlehem, PA · Lehigh County · Northampton County · Northampton Town F.C.

The city of Eas­ton has taken emer­gency ac­tion re­gard­ing its em­ploy­ees and build­ings as coro­n­avirus cases con­tinue to climb in the Le­high Val­ley.

Mayor Sal Panto Jr. is­sued an ex­ec­u­tive or­der Fri­day with sev­eral re­stric­tions and guide­lines.

They in­clude clos­ing City Hall at 123 S. Third St. and all other city-owned build­ings to the pub­lic, ef­fec­tive Mon­day.

City Hall em­ploy­ees are be­ing lim­ited to their in­di­vid­ual work sta­tions and are re­frained from vis­it­ing other ar­eas, ac­cord­ing to Panto’s or­der. Busi­nesses must be con­ducted vir­tu­ally or by tele­phone.

In ad­di­tion, city em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing po­lice and fire­fight­ers, must wear masks and stay so­cially dis­tant when­they are not at their work lo­ca­tions.

The move is aimed at pro­tect­ing city em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies from ex­po­sure to the virus, ac­cord­ing to the ex­ec­u­tive or­der.

Panto also or­dered any equip­ment or ma­te­ri­als used by more than one em­ployee, such as copiers, be dis­in­fected fol­low­ing each use, as well as dis­in­fect­ing com­mon ar­eas “on a regular ba­sis.”

He said the or­der does not ap­ply to city parks or out­door ac­tiv­i­ties.

Last week, Phillips­burg de­clared a state of emer­gency, with the move clos­ing its town hall at 120 Fil­more St, ac­cord­ing to Mayor Todd M. Ter­signi. The town also said the move was taken to en­sure proper health and safety pro­to­cols are be­ing fol­lowed by em­ploy­ees and res­i­dents, and that mu­nic­i­pal ser­vices do not go in­ter­rupted.

The Le­high Val­ley’s other cities, Al­len­town and Beth­le­hem, had not taken sim­i­lar steps as of

Fri­day.

“If and when a de­ci­sion would be made to close city fa­cil­i­ties, you can be sure that we will is­sue a news re­lease,” Al­len­town spokesper­son Mike Moore said.

Both Beth­le­hem Mayor Robert Donchez and Eric Evans, the city’s busi­ness ad­min­is­tra­tor, said of­fi­cials are mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion with the Beth­le­hem Health Bu­reau.

The state re­ported 6,808 more cases of the coro­n­avirus Fri­day as the num­ber of peo­ple hos­pi­tal­ized with the dis­ease surges to its high­est point ever, with 3,162 in the hos­pi­tal.

The newly re­ported cases hiked the statewide to­tal to 295,786, in­clud­ing 270 from Le­high County and 161 from Northamp­ton County.

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