For several months, almost all Mercer Island city staff except essential workers and first responders have been working from home to minimize the spread of coronavirus.
All city facilities are still closed to the public and are likely to remain so for several weeks to come, but some maintenance and field staff are now returning to in-person work per Gov. Jay Inslee’s phased guidance.
The city has developed extensive plans for this recovery phase, including return-to-work policies and procedures to ensure the continued safety of staff and the community. Cloth face coverings will be required of all staff in any indoor public space or where 6 feet of separation cannot be maintained, and many will be wearing gloves and other protective gear for specific tasks.
All workers will sign in and undergo a temperature scan upon arriving at their worksite, and will be required to sign out at day’s end. Shifts will be staggered and team meetings remotely attended in order to minimize gathering. Some shared equipment has even been moved to less confined locations.
Residents may notice that city employees will usually be riding only one per vehicle while on duty, and may stand at a distance when interacting with the public.
Extensive and frequent disinfecting of city facilities is already underway and will continue as this limited number of staff return.
“The city believes that these best practices, informed by federal, state and county health guidelines, will ensure a safe and orderly return for staff as they tackle a significant backlog of maintenance work,” a press release from Mercer Island representatives stated.