PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Mayor Bill Peduto declared a state of emergency in the city on Friday amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The city is prohibiting all public gatherings of more than 250 people, beginning Monday at 9 a.m., an executive order signed by the mayor details.
“As the coronavirus has spread throughout the world, we have learned one great lesson: that by taking decisive action early on, we can slow the spread of the disease and save untold numbers of lives,” Peduto said in a release. “I am making this announcement now so our residents can further plan for the impacts COVID-19 will have on them and their families, most likely for weeks to come.”
The announcement comes soon after Gov. Tom Wolf ordered schools to close for two weeks starting Monday in an effort to contain coronavirus.
The mayor says the emergency ruling is not being enforced earlier so residents can plan ahead, especially people with childcare needs or those who may have events this weekend.
Pittsburgh Public Safety is also asking bars and restaurants to cut down occupancy this weekend to allow for social distancing.
The state of emergency is initially for seven days but is subject to ratification by City Council.
Peduto’s declaring allows him to adopt precautionary measures to mitigate the expected impacts of public health disasters.
The city said those measures include:
- Canceling or limiting large gatherings
- Canceling or limiting events or gatherings that require city permits
- Encouraging the use of social distancing to lessen exposure and transmission of disease
- Canceling or limiting some city services
- Canceling or limiting public and private activities that could increase exposure or transmission of disease
The Home and Garden Show is ending after Friday night. It was scheduled to end on Sunday.
“The Convention Center management and staff rose to the challenge of maintaining recommended precautions until the threat of the coronavirus was determined by the Allegheny County Health Department to be beyond those measures. We recognize that many residents of Southwestern Pennsylvania did not have the opportunity to visit the Show this year, but hope to see you next year—at our 40th anniversary—March 5 through 14, 2021,” said John DeSantis, executive director and founder of the show.
County officials are urging residents and organizations to suspend large events of 250 people or more and avoid traveling to recreation activities like the gym.
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Pittsburgh Public Safety is also reallocating resources so police officers can handle calls they deem of higher priority, like accidents, injuries and crime.
There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in Allegheny County.
“There are still no positive cases of COVID-19 in Allegheny County, but local cases of the virus are likely to be detected soon,” County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a release.
Fayette County is also declaring a state of emergency. Fayette County commissioners declared a countywide state of emergency as a “proactive response.”
There are no confirmed cases in Fayette County.
The first case of coronavirus was just confirmed in western Pennsylvania.
The health department says there is one case of coronavirus in Washington County. The case was confirmed at 5 p.m. Friday. There are now 41 cases in the state.
Before this, all COVID-19 cases in the state had been reported in eastern Pennsylvania.
Stay with KDKA for more on this developing story.