Wayne County furloughs workers for two weeks amid virus crisis

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Wayne County on Friday canceled events, amended services and sent workers home for two weeks over concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Monday, non-essential employees will be on paid furlough until March 29. Workers critical to services affecting public health and safety still report to work as determined by their supervisor or overseeing elected official. The county has 3,500 full-time employees responding to the health crisis.

Detroit's historic Guardian Building, home of Wayne County's administrative offices.

"Wayne County will take every possible step to slow the spread of coronavirus while maintaining essential services," County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement. "We also recognize the financial hardship and disruption this pandemic is causing. Two paid weeks of leave will help lighten that impact."

The announcement comes as President Donald Trump on Friday enacted a national state of emergency. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, meanwhile, banned gatherings of 250 people or more and canceled grade-school classes into April. Employers across the country sent employees home to work remotely.

County parks will remain open to the public, but the Nankin Mills Interpretive Center and Parks administration office will be closed for two weeks. All county events will be canceled for 30 days, including Warren's State of the County address, which instead will be live-streamed online. The county will re-evaluate events scheduled after April 13.

Home delivery with Meals on Wheels will continue for home-bound participants with only essential staff onsite to pack and distribute the meals to drivers. The congregate meal program is suspended, though the county will provide five days of frozen meals and nutrition resource information on local pantries to participants.

The Prosecutor's Office will staff according to court directors and for warrant functions. Probate Court only is accepting emergency filings and only will conduct emergency hearing through March 27. Currently scheduled hearing will be adjourned except for the mental health docket on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays through April 3.

The Treasure's Office will be closed except for essential staff to process property tax payments and payment plans, certify deeds and to answer questions via phone or email to assist taxpayers.

The Sheriff's Office is operating as usual, though fingerprinting for Concealed Pistol License applicants is suspended through March 30. The Office of Register of Deeds is closed through March 27 except for processing Sheriff's Deed on an appointment-only basis.

The Wayne County Commission's full board meeting has postponed its March 19 meeting to April 2 and cancelled its committee meetings the week of March 23.

The county's Public Health Emergency Operations Center is running to educate and prevent the spread of COVID-19. Residents seeking additional information can call the coronavirus info line at (734) 287-7870 during business hours or 2-1-1, which is available 24 hours a day.


Twitter: @BreanaCNoble