BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – Lee County officials will be keeping the doors closed to public traffic for at least two more weeks.
At Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Lee County Board of Supervisors, county officials said the doors should stay closed to the public at least until plexiglass partitions are put in place to give workers some protection from the coronavirus.
Supervisor Gary Folluo said he wanted to look at least two weeks out and then revisit the issue to see how department heads are handling the changes.
“I would like to see our buildings closed for another two weeks and at that time prepare for how were going to handle incoming citizens that need services in the Lee County buildings,” Folluo said.
“I think we need to discuss security issues and we need to have someone at the doors to regulate how many people come in. Everyone is going to want to get things done that have been put off, but we need to have a plan for opening these offices.
Fedler said he supported the motion as it would allow the county get plexiglass separators in place.
Sara Helenthal, with the Lee County Auditor’s office, said the partitions have been ordered but there is a lag in the order time of about two weeks.
Supervisor Matt Pflug said the county has to think about the safety of its employees and residents first.
“I think the two week revisit is a good idea and then we need a good discussion on where we go from there,” Pflug said.
County officials also talked about extending the counties pandemic leave policy and waiving leave time requirements in the personnel policy as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to rush through the country.
With regard to the pandemic leave policy, the county’s Benefit Coordinator Michelle Reed said approving the update policy is something the county will have to continue to do as the pandemic evolves.
“In this update, we’ve put in language about what furlough would look like,” Reed said.
“We’re still not sure what money looks like at this point, but in the event of a furlough we want to have that defined here.”
Currently any county employee who has been exposed to the virus must let the county know so appropriate actions can be taken. Reed said the update further defines when the county would allow paid administrative leave.
Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise said department heads who can’t find work for employees due to the restrictions, should furlough those employees.
A furlough is a temporary leave that allows employees to claim unemployment and stimulus benefits, but allows them to keep their health insurance and benefits.
Right now paid administrative leave ends on April 30.
“If we don’t know how far this will go, if that’s the case, then we’re going to go ahead and look at the furlough option,” Reed said.
The board approved both waiving time requirements in the personnel police and the updated pandemic leave police both with 5-0 votes.
In an unrelated issue, Folluo said he had real concerns about Gov. Kim Reynolds opening 77 counties in the state to increase retail and fitness traffic.
“Please be careful. We’re getting more cases in Lee County, so we’re on the rise and we need to be careful, people,” Folluo said.
Lee County Health Department Administrator Michele Ross, said it’s vitally important that people who are ill stay home.
“I think it’s important that the businesses that do reopen, follow mitigation strategies and that people take personal responsibility,” Ross said. “We still want to encourage anyone ill to stay home. Please do not visit our businesses if you’re ill.