To the Residents and Business Owners of Adams County,
There is no doubt that the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has altered lives and taken a significant physical and economic toll in our community. While we are all relieved that Adams County’s metrics have resulted in the move to Yellow status on May 22, there is still work to be done to responsibly re-open Adams County.
Beginning Friday, small retail shops may open, childcare may resume, and real estate transactions may resume, in compliance with the Work and Congregate Setting Restrictions issued by the Governor’s Office.
The Adams County Board of Commissioners supports the re-opening of Adams County. We also understand that without the legal authority and the proper safety measures in place, re-opening prematurely could harm our long-term recovery.
Although we lack legal authority in most areas, we have acted to the best of our ability with the powers and authority granted to the Board by statute. We requested the administration consider our metrics in transitioning to Yellow by presenting facts to the Governor’s transition team and County liaison. We have pushed back tax deadlines including extension of the discount period and cut costs in the courthouse in an effort to alleviate the near and long-term economic burden on taxpayers. In conjunction with the Court of Common Pleas, we have established protocols to safely open county and court offices in order to continue providing a high level of services to residents. We are currently creating a plan to open more county offices to the public, so that as businesses re-open, we are able to provide services to those business entities.
Adams County leadership will continue to educate state officials on our needs and will fight for the recovery of our local businesses and industries. While we do not always agree with the decisions of the State, we are committed to advocating respectfully and effectively for our county and our constituents. Last Friday, the governor met with the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) Board of Directors and pledged to form a coalition with CCAP and county executives to improve communication between the state and counties moving forward.
During this pandemic we have witnessed the best of humanity. We have seen first responders and medical professionals step up like never before. Community volunteers have worked side-by-side with us to support local families with food and shelter. Emergency personnel and individuals who provide the many services that we require have never faltered. Our Adams County Department of Emergency Services has worked closely with the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
Sadly, the stress from this pandemic has also caused division and discord. Some of the discord is clearly the result of the physical, emotional and financial stresses experienced by individuals and families. Some of the discord is borne from a loss of control of our lives or our fear of what the future holds. We cannot control COVID-19 , but we can control our response to it. As we head down the road to recovery, we want to be a stronger, more unified community.
A famous leader, who came to Adams County 137 years ago to deliver a few appropriate remarks said, “A house divided cannot stand.” These words ring true today in our community. None of us knows what is still to come; but if Adams County is to rise to new challenges, new growth and improved prosperity, we must stand together as we overcome this adversity.
Commissioner Randy L. Phiel, chairman
Commissioner James E. Martin, vice chairman
Commissioner Marty Karsteter Qually