Due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic the Borough of Hellertown announced Saturday that all borough playgrounds are closed until further notice, effective immediately.
Borough parks and trails will remain open for passive use.
Organized sports in public parks are temporarily banned, since all user agreements are suspended until further notice in order to comply with the recommendations for social distancing issued by the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The borough is currently operating under a declaration of disaster emergency which took effect earlier this week. Public buildings including Hellertown Borough Hall are closed.
Many businesses are also closed, and more may be forced to when enforcement of an order by Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf that all “non-life-sustaining businesses” cease operations takes effect Monday, March 23 at 8 a.m.
The order–which Wolf said he was issuing to help slow the spread of the virus and save lives–was originally to have taken effect at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Late Friday, Wolf’s office announced that enforcement of it would be delayed until Monday due to the high volume of waiver requests the state had received.
Restaurants and bars that sell food for takeout and/or delivery may continue to operate under the new mandate, although inside dining banned at all locations.
The borough’s latest email also noted that under the order, medical facilities, grocery stores and trash and recycling collection services will continue to operate. Shoppers should be aware that many grocery stores have reduced their hours, placed limits on the number of items in key categories that may be purchased and responded to the pandemic with other modifications. For example, many have made the first hour of each business day a time when seniors can shop their stores after they’ve been restocked and cleaned.
Hellertown doesn’t have a Wawa, but if they did police would probably ask the company to leave a light on if they are closed for any period of time. That’s because borough police are asking borough business owners to leave a light on inside their businesses, if possible, to make it easier for officers to see inside them while they patrol at night.
Borough police, fire and EMS crews are continueingto operate and support the borough and its residents as normal.
Residents who need to speak with someone at the borough should call Borough Hall at 610-838-7041 or contact the appropriate department via email. Contact information is available on the borough’s website.
A drop box outside Borough Hall is available to use for any payments or permit submittals which need to be processed while the building is closed.
Borough officials announced Saturday that the borough’s real estate tax discount period has been extended to June 8, 2020.
In Lower Saucon Township changes have also taken effect.
It was announced Friday, that the Polk Valley Dog Park and township playgrounds are closed to the public, due to the fact that playground equipment isn’t cleaned or sanitized.
The township also announced that while public parks and trails will remain open for passive use, staff “will not be filling or emptying dog waste containers at this time, and if anyone still needs to use the trails they should bring and take home their own bags.”
Social distancing is urged of anyone who chooses to visit the township’s parks at this time.
Meanwhile, township offices remain closed to the public.
Beginning Monday, March 23, there will be limited office staff available, however phone messages and mail will be monitored daily, the township announced Friday.
There is a drop box available for tax payments and permit applications.
The Lower Saucon Township Public Works Department will be limited to responding to emergency calls. If you have a concern, please contact 610-865-3291 and leave a message.
As of mid-day Saturday, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Pennsylvania rose from 311 to 371, according to the PA Department of Health.
The department also reported the state’s second death due to the virus, which officials said occurred in Allegheny County.
We have sad news to share today. We've been informed by @HealthAllegheny of a death of a resident due to #COVID19.— PA Department of Health (@PAHealthDept) March 21, 2020
There are now 2 deaths in Pennsylvania caused by this virus since we first detected it here 2 weeks ago.
The first person to die from the virus was a 55-year-old Northampton County man who succumbed to it earlier this week.
A state map that lists the number of cases by county shows one active case in Northampton County as of Saturday, while the number of confirmed cases in Lehigh County has apparently increased dramatically overnight, from two to 13.
It is unclear if the change in numbers may be a result of hospitalized patients with confirmed cases being transferred to nearby facilities located across county lines.
Both the health department and the governor’s office continue to urge residents to “stay calm, stay home, stay safe.”