Mayor Warren declares state of emergency in Rochester

Mar 16, 2020

Credit Emily Hunt for WXXI News

Mayor Lovely Warren has declared a State of Emergency in the City of Rochester beginning Monday and renewable every five days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This state of emergency will help us keep our residents and staff safe during this crisis and allow us to utilize our staff most effectively to ensure continued efficient operation of government services,” said Warren.

A State of Emergency gives the Mayor the authority to issue emergency orders, implement public protection measures, suspend local laws and request supplemental assistance, under section 24 of the State Executive Law.

The following actions are being taken by the City effective at 5 p.m. today, Monday, March 16:

Building Closings

The following will close to the public and will remain closed until further notice. Essential staff will still report and provide services:

  • City Hall
  • Neighborhood Service Centers
  • R-Centers (except sites open for food distribution, visit cityofrochester.gov/coronavirus for a complete list of sites)
  • Libraries (see below for details on continuing library services)
  • The Traffic Violations Agency


All Rochester Police Department and Fire Department operations are unaffected.

Garbage Pickup and Recycling

City refuse and recycling pickup is currently unaffected.

Public Market

The City of Rochester Public Market will remain open for regular operating hours for residents to purchase food and groceries from vendors only.

Public Meetings

Scheduled public meetings, including City Council meetings, will be conducted. However, no in-person attendance by the public will be allowed. Residents can participate and submit comments online via cityofrochester.gov/publicmeetings.

911/311 & Information Resources

Citizens are asked to only call 911 if they need police, fire or ambulance services, and to call 311 if they need assistance with City services. Residents needing help or assistance can visit cityofrochester.gov/coronavirus for detailed information. The attached flyer also provides this information.

Make Payments, Submit Applications & Access City Services Online and Via Physical Drop-Boxes

All online services at cityofrochester.gov will remain available and all City departments will still answer questions via phone and email. Online transaction fees will be waived until further notice. A secure drop-box will be made available at City Hall for residents to drop off permit applications, payments or assessment grievances. Additional drop-boxes will be located outside of each NSC office to accept business and handicap parking permits. Payments can also continue to be made by mail.

Library Curbside and Digital Services

The Central Library downtown will continue to be staffed and support city and suburban libraries. Staff will answer 428-7300 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, beginning Tuesday, March 17. Curbside pickup service will be available at the Central Library also beginning Wednesday, March 18. People can call ahead to request items which will be checked out, bundled and delivered to them on the Broad Street side of the Bausch & Lomb Library Building by appointment. The Central Library will continue to take returns of materials via the Broad Street book drop.

Library Curbside and Digital Services (Continued)

Branch libraries will be closed through March 27, allowing facilities staff to deep clean each location. Book drops will remain open. Branch staff will be reassigned to Central Library or to other City Departments that need assistance. Branches will potentially resume staffing on March 30 and will take phone calls and requests for curbside pickup.

Access to digital content - ebook, e-audiobooks, videos and music is available. 

The Monroe County Library System is encouraging people to keep their library materials out. Due dates on all items currently borrowed have been extended to May 18.

Civil Service Testing

All City Civil Service Testing is postponed.

Rochester Animal Services

The Rochester Animal Services shelter will be open to the public by appointment only  to claim lost pets, conduct adoptions and transfer animals to rescue societies. To schedule an appointment, call 428-7274 or email animalservices@cityofrochester.gov.