Shelby County cancels non-essential government meetings, jail visitations

Published: Mar. 12, 2020 at 7:05 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 12, 2020 at 7:07 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Shelby County government is taking precautions to prevent employees from contracting coronavirus, including canceling non-essential in-person meetings and limiting public-facing services to phone, video and online whenever possible.

Shelby County is also canceling in-person jail visitations until further notice, and commissioners will hold virtual meetings for the next two weeks.

On Thursday, local health officials confirmed the second case of coronavirus in Shelby County. The individual is a close contact of the first person diagnosed with the virus. The two traveled to and from New Orleans for Mardi Gras, according to Shelby County Health Department Director Alisa Haushalter.

Below are the precautions the Shelby County government is taking reduce the spread among employees and other citizens:

  • All Divisions and Offices will cancel non-essential in-person meetings until further notice. If your team needs to discuss a matter relevant to your work, consider using available phone and web conference technology instead.
  • Public-facing services will be limited to phone, video, and online transactions whenever possible. This includes but is not limited to rent and utility assistance consultations, veterans services, and senior citizen support services. Shelby County Government will continue to provide these services to the public. However, meetings will take place virtually or via phone as appropriate. Our most vulnerable residents, including mental health clients and rape crisis victims, will continue to receive in-person meetings.
  • Supplemental cleaning services will be provided to all public buildings. Coronavirus is believed to be spread through surface contact (i.e. if a person touches a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes, he or she would be at risk of infection). Because of this, our Support Services department along with external partners will be working around the clock to wipe counters, clean door knobs, and sanitize high traffic areas.
  • We are reducing the unique risks in our county jails and prisons. Due to the frequent daily interactions between the public and those incarcerated, employees and those in detention are at an increased risk of infection. Therefore, we will not allow in-person visitation at this time.  During this time, we are waiving fees for phone calls and video chats for residents who are behind bars to ensure they remain connected with their families.
  • Employees may use sick and vacation time to address coronavirus symptoms and family needs, with documented approval from a supervisor. As a temporary measure and in response to coronavirus concerns, employees may use sick leave, annual and bonus leave, and up to 40 hours of borrowed sick time (in that order) to help reduce the financial impact of self-quarantine (when required) or family adjustments to accommodate school closures. Employees must work with their supervisor for approval, and an alternate schedule may be provided as a solution if there is no medical necessity for the requested leave. For more information about our temporary leave policy and other HR concerns, please review the attached FAQs.
  • The Shelby County Board of Commissioners will host virtual meetings for at least the next two weeks. These virtual meetings will take place in the 1st Floor Chambers to ensure that residents and employees may view the live stream video online. A call-in number will be provided on each agenda so that residents may call in. Employees may still attend the meetings to discuss relevant agenda items; however, members of the public should call in to engage.

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