Executive Order 2020-004 declares a State of Emergency in Jersey City and the closure of non-essential City services, beginning at 11:59pm March 16, 2020 until further notice.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES AND RETURNING TO WORK

·         Your Department Director, HR, the Law Dept, and I will be confirming exactly what employees and services will be classified as “essential” and the structure of the work schedule for essential employees.  Please wait for guidance from your Department Director before returning to work starting tomorrow.
 
·         Uniformed employees are all considered essential and work schedules will not change unless otherwise directed by the Director of Public Safety.
 
·         Any offices that remain open, even if in a limited capacity, must continue to remain appointment only
 
·         Please make sure to update your voicemail recordings and out of office reminders to indicate the changes in your office schedule.  Please also post contact information in any public entrance area to your office as well as on your web pages indicating the change in office hours.
 
·         Remote working structures may be established at the discretion of your Department Director.  See below for more guidance on how to work remotely.
 
·         Please also be advised that any essential or non-essential employees that are not working during this State of Emergency shall be considered “on-call” as we may with short notice need staff to return to work for a variety of reasons.  Those that are called back to work but are not available will be required to utilize accrued time.
 

USE OF ACCRUED TIME AND OVERTIME DURING STATE OF EMERGENCY

·         For those of you that remained home today based on guidance from last week, we will not be deducting any accrued time, nor will we be deducting any accrued time for those of you that are approved by your Department Director to remain home while non-essential City services are closed. 
 
·         The policies announced last week regarding the City not deducting accrued time for those that must be home to care for students or other dependents will now be in effect only for essential employees (non-essential employees now have more flexibility to stay home anyway).
 
·         For those employees that will be working during this State of Emergency (either at the office or remotely if applicable), we will be honoring all union contracts that provide for overtime or double time, but all working hours must be approved by your Director.
 

HOW TO WORK REMOTELY

·         Employees can access email remotely through this link (bookmark this link for future reference).
 
·         Microsoft Teams is our primary platform for video conference calls, meetings, sending documents, and group chats.  Download the app here through this link.
 
·         If you have files that you need access to remotely, please consider loading them into SharePoint or your OneDrive account for ease of remote access to them.  I.T. can assist and will continue to be available through the help desk line 201-547-4442 of by submitting a GovPilot IT request (www.govpilot.com and Sign in with Microsoft – same as above) during this emergency.  See attached email for more guidance on this process.
 
·         To access your office voicemail remotely, call your office number and press the * key and follow the guidance.  See the attached email for more information on this process.
 
·         All public facing operations should already have digital forms and payment systems in place.  We encourage you to direct all customers to these forms and tools.  If you have any questions or still need help putting these tools in place, please contact Melissa the Office of Innovation Director.
 
·         OPRA only applies to work related correspondence, even on a personal device.  While any work related correspondence accessed or sent through personal devices are subject to OPRA, your entire device does not become subject to OPRA (only those features used for work related purposes, including personal email or texts from your personal cell phone if they contain work related correspondence). 
 
·         For those employees that have additional technology needs, including but not limited to a City issued cell phone or other mobile devices, please contact your Department Director who will make a single request for your Department. 
 

FOR EMPLOYEES WITH MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS WITH CITY DOCTORS

·         Employees will be notified by CarePoint postponing all workers comp appointments for 2-weeks or more (please contact them for more information).
 
·         New injuries should call CarePoint rather than go to the office.
 
·         Official notice to all employees with current work related injuries will go out shortly.
 
·         Physical Therapy will be scheduled on a case by case basis.


We are taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously and are working hard to ensure we all have a safe and clean working environment that minimizes the risk of transmission of this virus. The following policies and procedures are effective immediately:

CLEANLINESS

· The Department of Public Works has instructed cleaners to wipe clean all high-touch surfaces with antimicrobial disinfectant and paper towels no less than 3 times daily and as often as possible, including doorknobs and handles; door panic bars; ledges and hand rails; elevator buttons; light switches; counters; and hand scanners.

· Hand sanitizer dispensers have been installed at all hand scanners and throughout City buildings and in other high traffic areas.

· All employees are strongly encouraged to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

· Department Directors may allow staff to forego the use of hand scanners as long as an alternative process to track time and attendance is implemented, including but not limited to paper time sheets.

HEALTHCARE ACCESS AND SICK DAYS

· We are making adjustments to our healthcare plan coverage to improve access to COVID-19 care and treatments:

- Prior authorization for visits to physicians, urgent care centers, or emergency rooms for evaluation is no longer required and we are waiving the copay for these visits

- Prior authorizations for any required COVID-19 testing is no longer required

- Horizon will cover the full cost of all COVID-19 tests

- Early medication refill limits for 30-day prescriptions have been waived

· New employees hired this year will automatically begin healthcare coverage effective today (or on their start date if they have not yet begun employment with the City).

· New employees will also receive the full year of sick days instead of a prorated amount for the first year of employment effective immediately.

INTERACTIONS WITH THE PUBLIC AND TRAVEL

· All work related travel is canceled until further notice.

· All City offices, buildings and departments shall remain open to the public, during normal business hours, by appointment only, until further notice. Please see attached document for guidance on how to screen visitors and schedule appointments.

· All regularly scheduled public meetings held by the City of Jersey City including, but not limited to, meetings of the City Council and the various governing boards, are hereby cancelled until further notice.

· All other City-sponsored events are cancelled until further notice.

· All private events held on City property and all events requiring City permits are cancelled until further notice. This shall include those events in which a City permit has already been granted.

IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS

· Any employee experiencing flu like symptoms shall immediately call Sonali Limaye, MPH the City’s Public Health Epidemiologist at 201-547-4335 (office) or 201-527-7807 (cell) for screening.

· Staff with possible symptoms shall not report to work or other medical facilities in person, unless instructed by Ms. Limaye.

· Any staff that have recently traveled internationally must be cleared by HHS at the number above before returning to work regardless of the presence of visible symptoms.

· The City will not be enacting a work from home policy unless an individual has been screened by HHS, has been determined to be at high risk for contracting the virus or tests positive for the virus, and must be quarantined according to CDC guidelines, and will be tracked by HHS staff.

EMPLOYEES CARING FOR CHILDREN OR OTHER DEPENDENTS HOME FROM SCHOOL

Effective Monday March 16, if any employee must be home to care for a child or other dependent that are home because of a COVID-19 related school closure, the Department Director and the Department of Human Resources may allow for an accommodation for that employee to work from home and/or for a more flexible work schedule. If an employee cannot complete a full work day in a work from home setting, the City will not charge employees for half of any accumulated days used (see below for more detail on that process). All requests must be in writing to the Department Director and require documentation of the school closure. Public Safety employees may have other limitations here depending on coverage ability for all shifts.

If a work from home arrangement cannot be accommodated, the employee will be able to utilize any type of accumulated leave (sick days or else personal days or vacation days), and the City will compensate employees for half of all time used. For example, if a school is closed for 5 days and an employee cannot be accommodated by working from home, the employee would use 2.5 days of their accrued time (sick days or other) and the City would cover the other 2.5 days. This policy will only be in effect for up to 4 weeks total, or whenever school reopens, whichever date is sooner.

An executive order memorializing this policy and providing additional detail will be forthcoming on Monday but if you need to start working from home and/or taking days on Monday please let your Department Director know as soon as possible.

 

EMPLOYEES DIAGNOSED WITH COVID-19

If a City employee is (1) diagnosed with COVID-19, (2) directed by a medical professional or government agency to self-isolate or quarantine due to suspicion of exposure to or diagnosis with COVID-19, and/or (3) undergoing a period of self-quarantine or isolation pursuant to public health assessment recommendations, then the employee will not be required to utilize accumulated leave time for up to 10 total work days if they provide documentation verifying the same within three work days of the initial absence. More information coming soon in the executive order coming Monday.

OTHER UPDATES

· For those employees in the Department of Public Safety with any possible symptoms, please defer to the Chiefs of Police and Fire accordingly for guidance on returning to work or being sent home.
· Please note that the municipal court will be open but non-criminal matters will be rescheduled until further notice.
· The public libraries will be closed as of tomorrow and late fees will be waived. Visit www.jclibrary.org for more information.
· We are working to resolve an issue with the iPhone version of the SwiftReach emergency alert system and will update everyone accordingly.
· We will be sharing more guidance on video conferencing and working remotely early next week.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

· To stay up to date with important announcements and alerts, register for SwiftReach, our text message alerting system here.
· Stay up to date on the latest news related to coronavirus HERE.
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