County Update 36 COVID 19, Phase 1
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County Update 36 on COVID-19, County Manager Comments on Essential Services status; Addresses Governor’s directive for everyone to wear face coverings in public, starting tomorrow, due to COVID-19
Posted on 05/15/2020

County Manager Harry Burgess announced today that the County will continue its Essential Services status for the near future, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in response to the executive order issued by Governor Michelle-Lujan Grisham. The Governor’s order expires today, May 15, and although she has stated the State will move into Phase One Recovery, her stay at home order is still in effect.

“We are in the final stages of preparing our Recovery Plan, which will drive re-opening County services,” Burgess said, “Our department directors have been working with our Emergency Manager, Beverley Simpson, with a goal of gradually re-opening our offices and County-managed facilities. I anticipate that we will be phasing in various County facilities and services over time, while always staying aligned with the Governor’s orders and her own announcements about re-opening across New Mexico. I continue to be pleased at the responsiveness and customer service we are able to provide to the community, but we need to continue to be diligent and thoughtful as we inform residents of our plans.”

Burgess said that he had already directed County employees to wear face-coverings a few weeks ago, and has now urged all employees to comply with wearing a face-covering in public to comply with the new executive order taking effect tomorrow.

Burgess said as the Recovery Plan is finalized, employees may be called back to work on site over the next few weeks or months, but in the short term there has been no change to his previous direction to employees, first issued mid-March:

  • Employees providing essential services who have the ability to work from home (telecommute) will continue to be assigned work.
  • 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.

Burgess said he will be discussing possible recovery plans with the Council at their work session on Tuesday evening at 6:00 p.m. before taking further action.

“I will continue to monitor the situation locally and at the State level,” he said, adding that there are still many considerations to be addressed in the interest of keeping employees and the public safe during the pandemic crisis.

Burgess reminded the public that the County posts COVID-19 updates on the County’s Pandemic and Coronavirus webpage and encouraged residents to check the website daily for new posts.