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Commissioners urge residents to wear masks

LOCK HAVEN — “Please wear a mask,” Clinton County Commissioner Angela Harding said Monday morning during the commissioners work session, which was live-streamed.

Harding and Commissioner Miles Kessinger urged county residents to wear masks when going out into public spaces, as has been mandated by Governor Tom Wolf in response to an increase in the number of positive cases in the state in recent weeks.

Harding said the commissioners office has received several calls asking who is enforcing the masking.

“It’s not the commissioners’ office,” she said, asking Clinton County to do better.

“We want our small businesses to remain open and viable. We want our schools to open. We want our children to be able to participate in extra-curricular activities. We want our community to be healthy. We want our most vulnerable to be safe.”

Harding said states across America and the leadership in the White House are listening to the medical experts and researchers … they are advocatng for masks. They can help slow the spread and minimize cases.

“This is not a Democratic thing. This is not a Republican thing. This is not a hoax. This virus is not playing favorites. No one is trying to take your freedom. Wearing a mask does not make you weak or afraid. Wearing a mask means that you care about your community,” Harding continued.

She asked, “What do you have to lose?”

“A lot has changed about this virus,” she continued. “There are still too many unknowns. We’re learning more about it every day… what it can do… how it travels and spreads. Masking can help slow the spread. If in two weeks they decide a mask doesn’t protect us, then at least we tried. But right now, as far as we know right now, it does. It is the least we can do for each other and our community.”

Kessinger said he agrees with everything Harding said.

“In other states cases are exploding. We don’t want to see that here,” Kessinger said, noting that in Allegheny County they have closed restaurants and businesses for a week or 10 days to try and curtail the virus.

“So please be vigilant. Wear a mask, not to protect you but to protect somebody next to you,” Kessinger said.

Also at Monday’s work session, it was announced that the first public hearing for Community Development Block Grant funds will be held at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, prior to the voting session of the county commissioners at 10 a.m.

Clinton County Planning Department Director Katie deSilva encouraged anyone who’s thinking of applying for the funding to attend the hearing which will be live-streamed. “All of the guidelines of the program will be discussed. It’s pretty important,” she said.

deSilva also announced that the county received word last week that it will receive an additional $13,000 in Homeless Assistance Program (HAP) funding.

“We get $23,000 every year for the housing coalition. It’s used for clients at the Life Center and the Women’s Center,” she explained.

“This is flexible funding and you can use it any way you want, including shelter operations,” deSilva said, noting that’s not normally the case with these programs.

Kessinger said the CARES Act has been signed and submitted to Department of Community and Economic Development. He said the county is waiting for confirmation that the money has been deposited in their account. The Planning Department is working on the application process and municipalities and organizations will be notified when the applications are available and they can start submitting them, Kessinger said.

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