Saturday 28 January 2023
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City in State of Emergency; Hospitals Agree to Bar Visitors

Rochester City Hall. File photo

The expression is that you can’t fight city hall.

Now, because of COVID-19, you can’t go there.

Mayor Lovely Warren on March 16 declared a state of emergency in the city and closed city hall as of 5 p.m.

Additionally, Monroe County Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza announced that Rochester Regional and UR Medicine hospitals have agreed to stop in-person visits until further notice. The rule applies to the systems’ hospitals across the region.

Mendoza said that barring visitors aligns with his advice for health care facilities to do all they can to reduce the spread of infection. The hospitals are making some exceptions, and people should contact the hospital where they have a loved one.

As for the city, here is the list of closings and adjustments to services:

Building closings

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

  • City Hall
  • Neighborhood Service Centers
  • R-Centers (except sites open for food distribution, visit 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 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

911/311 and 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 for detailed information. The attached flyer also provides this information.

Payments and applications

All online services at 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 is at the Link Gallery entrance to City Hall for residents to drop off permit applications, payments or assessment grievances. Additional drop-boxes will be located outside 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.

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 at and for City of Rochester residents at

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

The state of emergency will be reviewed every five days. The 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.