State of Emergency to Enhance City Response to COVID-19

20 Health info Emergency page header

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

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 5 p.m. 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 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

  • Unless otherwise cancelled, scheduled public 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 & Information Resources

  • Citizens are asked to call 911 only 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. 

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

  • All online services on the City website 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.


The Central Library downtown and all city branch libraries are closed to the public until further notice. All public service operations are suspended, including curbside pickup and hotspot distribution. 

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

Neighborhood and Business Development 

The City’s Department of Neighborhood and Business Development issued the following customer-service procedures during the COVID-19 outbreak.  

  • Building permits and building-related permits: Forms for Building Permits; Electrical Permits; Elevator Permits; Fire Permits; Plumbing Permits; Re-roof Permits; Certificate of Occupancy Renewal; Zoning Application forms and other permits can be found at Download the appropriate form and place them in the City Hall drop box or send by mail to room 125A City Hall, 30 Church St., Rochester NY, 14614. Include checks or money orders for appropriate fees. Do not place cash in any drop boxes.
  • Business Permits: Applications and renewal information can be found at New Business Permits should be placed in the City Hall drop box and Renewal Business Permits should be dropped off at the local Neighborhood Service Center (NSC) office drop box. Good Neighbor Agreements can be conducted by telephone with the NSC offices. Visit for NSC office locations, telephone numbers and email addresses.
  • Handicap Parking Permits: Applications can be found at and placed in the local Neighborhood Service Center Office drop box along with a copy of a government-issued photo ID. Photos of the ID can also be emailed to the NSC (such as from a smartphone). Applicants will not be able to enter the offices. The Handicap Parking Permit will be mailed. Visit for a list of NSC locations, emails and telephone numbers.
  • Emergency Assistance Repair Grant applications: Forms can be downloaded online at and placed in the City Hall drop box or emailed to
  • Homebuyer Assistance Grant applications: Forms can be downloaded online at or requested by email at and placed in the City Hall drop box. No photo copies can be made by City staff and no originals will be returned.