Washtenaw County buildings and operations to close until early April due to coronavirus outbreak

Sunday, March 15, 2020 - 4:21pm

All Washtenaw County buildings and non-essential operations will close through April 5 and will reopen on April 6 to limit the spread of COVID-19.

All Washtenaw County buildings and non-essential operations will close through April 5 and will reopen on April 6 to limit the spread of COVID-19. Buy this photo
File Photo/Daily

All Washtenaw County buildings and non-essential operations will close through April 5 and will reopen on April 6 to limit the spread of COVID-19, Washtenaw County Administrator Gregory Dill announced on Sunday.

Dill sent a letter to county staff Sunday afternoon stating that individual departments will reach out to non-essential staff who will be required to remain home. Those who are ordered to stay home will continue to be paid their standard salary. 

Staff who are considered essential will work remotely if possible and will be paid based on their collective bargaining agreement. The letter and press release do not clarify which operations and services are considered essential or non-essential, but the letter states that department pages on the Washtenaw County official website will be updated to indicate their status.

“In order to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, we’ve made the determination to close all non-essential county operations and ask all nonessential staff to stay home,” Dill said. “This was not an easy decision, we are the safety net in our community, and we’ve worked to identify staff who can continue their work with our most vulnerable.”

According to Dill, services that directly support vulnerable community members, such as the Health Department and Veterans Affairs, may not be considered essential but will continue at reduced capacity. Safety-net services such as support for food and shelter will also continue operating under the Office for Community and Economic Development. 

The Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners still plans to hold a meeting on the morning of March 18 but urged the public to live stream the meeting instead of attending the in-person. Board Chair Jason Morgan said in the press release that the board is holding the meeting in the morning to limit the presence of staff. 

“We are moving our board meeting to the morning to avoid having staff around in the evening, reducing our agenda to only time-sensitive actions, and ensuring the meeting is accessible online as always,” Morgan said. “We also encourage residents to stay home and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary.”

Daily Staff Reporter Arjun Thakkar can be reached at arjunt@umich.edu.