Statement by the President, Chambersburg Borough Council

Dear Borough Residents,

Franklin County remains under Red Phase Stay At Home orders. We have yet to meet key public health metrics for reopening, which include numbers of COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks as well as testing and contact tracing capacities. State health data show that zip code 17201, largely occupied by the Borough of Chambersburg, accounts for nearly half of the COVID-19 cases in Franklin County (health.pa.gov). The Governor’s task force reviews data regularly, so our status is subject to change, but, for now, we are under Stay At Home orders through June 4.

The Governor has recently clarified consequences for violating Red Phase Stay At Home orders. Small business owners who open prematurely might be subject to loss of insurance coverages as well as state licensures. The county itself, and possibly the municipalities and organizations within it, may lose discretionary funds from the CARES Act that would directly benefit our citizens and our economic recovery.

I understand from Mayor Walt Bietsch that the Chambersburg Police Department will continue its current practice of educating and informing business owners who operate in violation of current Stay At Home orders. I hope that you will join me in supporting this approach and continuing to believe in the goodwill of our neighbors and our Borough business owners. Borough residents and business owners have made many sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The economic toll of this pandemic is unprecedented. However, we risk compromising our economic recovery if non-eligible businesses reopen in violation of state orders.

Moreover, the health of our families and friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, our Borough staff, our emergency services personnel and police officers, our health aides and caregivers, our nurses and doctors, continues to depend on our willingness to abide by Red Phase Stay At Home orders. Reopening before we are positioned to manage our local and county public health crisis jeopardizes the health of our community and risks overwhelming our health care resources.

Please follow public health recommendations for regular hand washing and wearing masks in public: protect yourself and others. Practice physical distancing, too. Together, we can continue our work as a community toward the recovery of our livelihoods, the protection of public health, and the dearly sought normalcy of our pre-pandemic lives.

Thank you,

Alice Elia

President, Chambersburg Borough Council