Nonessential City Employees Ordered to Work From Home

4-5-17-City of San Diego City Administration Building Generic 2
NBC 7 San Diego

Businesses have shuttered and restaurants remain open on the condition they only serve take-out and deliveries, but San Diego’s largest employer, the city, has remained open for business despite the exponential spread of the coronavirus. 

Now, that is going to change. 

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has ordered nonessential city employees to work from home in an effort to curb the spread of the disease.

In a statement, San Diego communications director Craig Gustafson said only essential city employees will report to work tomorrow, thousands of others will be asked to telecommute and to refrain from coming into work.

“The City has transitioned to prioritize essential operations – police, fire, water, wastewater, trash pickup – to ensure that residents continue to get the critical services they need during this trying time."

Craig Gustafson - Director of Communications - City of San Diego

In particular Gustafson said the city’s police and fire department, as well as executive managers and essential employees from all departments, will report to work. Those departments include Communications, Development Services, Environmental Services, Finance, Homelessness Strategies, as well as Transportation and Storm Departments, among others. 

“It’s important to note that many of these employees may also be telecommuting, if possible,” said Gustafson.

Employees in nonessential city services, such as ADA Compliance, Debt Management, Library, Planning, and Risk Management have already begun telecommuting. 

And, said Gustafson, for those employees who must report to work, they will be asked to “maintain a safe social distance (six feet or more), avoid gatherings in confined areas, and keep workspaces clean.”

The announcement comes as local governments grapple with how to deal with the inevitable spread of the coronavirus.

Michael Zucchet, the head of the local municipal employees union, said the city and the union have worked closely in recent weeks to try and ensure the safety of the public and city employees. 

“We have been working closely with city management starting last week on these policies for working from home and other accommodations,” Zucchet told NBC 7.

“I must say, the city has been very responsive and we believe doing a good job working through these issues.”

Zucchet anticipates the city and other municipal governments to make other announcements in regards to city services during the current outbreak. 

“We expect more in the coming days given the velocity with which things are moving.”

Michael Zucchet - San Diego Municipal Employees Association
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