Berks County announces hundreds of furloughs because of coronavirus impact

Mark Abrams
April 01, 2020 - 8:28 pm

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Berks County officials say they will furlough up to 400 county workers because of the impact of the coronavirus on government operations. 

The Berks County Commissioners say they’ll idle 219 county workers deemed non-essential starting April 15.

But they concede they are still studying reports from 26 department heads and that number could grow to as many as 400 employees in the weeks ahead.

“Right now this is for April and May, through May 31. Work needs may change and a furloughed employee can be called back at any time. But it also depends very much on what happens with the COVID-19 crisis,” said Commissioners’ chairman Christian Leinbach.

Among the workers being let go are parks and recreation personnel, county planning staff, library employees and court workers.

Among those considered essential to county operations are corrections officers who work at Berks County Prison and nurses at the county’s nursing facility — Berks Heim.

Most county buildings and offices have been closed to the public since March 18, when the commissioners declared a health emergency.

Berks appears to be the first in this region to announce furloughs. The city of Scranton announced similar measures two weeks ago.