BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — All Erie County employees will now have Juneteenth as a paid holiday off.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz made the announcement Wednesday about the June 20 celebration.

Although Erie County buildings and offices will be closed, operations such as the Erie County Sheriff’s office, the 911 call center, parks and other essential services will remain open.

Poloncarz hopes that employees will use the day to educate themselves and honor Juneteenth.

“Juneteenth celebrates the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States at the end of the Civil War, marking the moment in history the word spread across America that all men were free,” Poloncarz said. “This celebration is also an opportunity to recommit ourselves to protecting that freedom, guarding it and teaching upcoming generations to do the same.”

“We have recently concluded negotiations with bargaining units that represent the vast majority of our employees that include the Juneteenth holiday for their membership, so this action will now make it a holiday for the remainder of our employees this year. It is my hope that our Erie County family will use this day off to educate themselves, self-reflect, and to honor and celebrate the freedoms Juneteenth symbolizes.”