Los Alamos County has announced additional plans for limiting the impact of COVID-19. These plans address County employees and provision of services.
Beginning Wednesday, March 18:
- Employees providing essential services who have the ability to work from home (telecommute) are being given assigned work and County-issued laptops. Department Directors have identified employees that fall within this category, including any employee who may be at higher health risk if they contract COVID-19.
- Employees providing essential services who have a job that requires them to be in the field, such as public safety or utilities’ workers, will report to work as scheduled.
- All other employees who provide non-essential services, as defined and determined by Department Directors and with approval from the County Manager, will remain at home. They will be on special Emergency Paid Leave status, must be in contact with their Supervisor daily, and could be recalled to work at any time.
“We are taking these proactive steps to keep our workforce as safe as possible, and building up some reserves in the event that employees become ill, given that the COVID-19 virus is only just beginning to emerge and impact local communities,” said Harry Burgess, County Manager.
“By taking steps now, our goal is to move to a ‘skeleton crew’ to keep providing the level of services that our community needs during this critical health crisis,” he said, “while keeping our employees safe and reducing the spread of germs that can occur with face to face transactions.”
Customer service windows within County facilities will be closed to over-the-counter transactions and information about how to interact with County employees will be provided via phone or e-mail. Individuals should not travel to County facilities without first phoning the department they wish to visit to inquire about their current level of services, restrictions on visits, and any other information they can share about their transaction. In many cases, services are available on-line and members of the public will be directed to these resources. If an in-person visit is urgent and necessary, an appointment will be scheduled by phone or e-mail.
Burgess said that he has issued additional directives to all employees about personal out-of-state travel.
“We recognize that, as public servants, many of our jobs require us to interact with the public. We need to do our part to keep COVID-19 from spreading and we don’t want to introduce it into our community. For that reason, employees who have pre-approved leave to travel out-of-state in the coming weeks are being strongly advised to cancel plans,” he said, “We will require any employee choosing to travel out-of-state – such as taking a vacation to another state – to use their leave banks and self-quarantine for 14 days upon their return to Los Alamos.”
Burgess said the County will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation with COVID-19 and make further adjustments to services, hours of operation, or other considerations as needed. He asked for the community to support these additional steps taken with the County’s workforce as much as possible.
“Use on-line services, make a phone call, or send an e-mail to County offices. Delay doing any business with the County that is not urgent at this time. Minimize trips to facilities such as the Municipal Building unless it’s absolutely necessary. Be patient and expect longer lead times for responses if your transaction isn’t urgent, as we will be processing many requests and increased phone calls and e-mails for customer service,” Burgess said, “All of these might seem like small matters of inconvenience, but it will greatly assist us as we move into this next phase of our response and have staffing at minimal levels. Working together with the community, we will continue to seek ways to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While we hope that these measures may be short-term, we need the community’s support and understanding.”