Coronavirus

Williamsport pulls permits for events through April, including National Socialist Movement rally

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the mayor of Williamsport has canceled all public events in city parks and city streets in April.

One specific event that’s now canceled has some community members grateful. He says it’s to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

“We have to take this seriously. Everyone has to play their part, stay home. Only go out for, you know, the essential runs to the grocery stores, medical emergencies, that type of thing,” said Mayor Derek Slaughter.

Earlier in the month, city council passed an emergency declaration banning gatherings of 250 people within city limits. Now, the mayor has decreased that number to 50 people. The National Socialist Movement falls under that category.

“My understanding is that they’ve canceled their rally in cooperation with the mayor’s updated proclamation so I don’t believe that is going to occur,” said Chief Damon Hagan with the Williamsport Police.

The National Socialist Movement, said to be the largest neo-nazi group in the country, scheduled a rally for April 18th at Brandon Park. The planned rally had community members on edge.

“From any gathering, that one or any other gathering of large people and the concern that COVID-19 could be spread from person to person… a highly contagious disease. The community can be calm and rest assured that that’s not going to happen now,” said Chief Hagan.

Community members reacted on social media, sharing comments such as, “They should’ve never gotten permits to do it to begin with,” and “Good, no one wants it here.”

Nonetheless, city leaders say they’re proud to see everyone coming together to help keep the city safe.

“I’m glad that the public is working with our city government to be as proactive as we can be,” said Mayor Slaughter.

At this time at least eight other events have been canceled or postponed in the city. City council will be meeting on April 2nd to decide if the proclamation will be extended past April.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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