Philadelphia, March 13, 2020 – Following consultations with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and Council’s leadership team, City Council President Darrell L. Clarke today announced the following additional action steps regarding the operations of Philadelphia City Council. These actions are being taken in order to protect the public’s health as well as the health and well-being of City Council members and employees during the coronavirus epidemic.
“The public health challenges posed by the coronavirus to our City are significant,” said Council President Clarke. “However, I am convinced that by working collaboratively, we can keep our employees safe, and continue to serve our residents and constituents effectively.”
- Status of Council Meetings and Hearings: City Council’s Stated Meeting, originally scheduled for next Thursday, March 19th at 10:00 a.m. in Room 400, City Hall, has been cancelled.
- A public hearing of the Committee on Rules, originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 18th at 10:00 a.m. in Room 400, City Hall, has been cancelled. There are no other hearings scheduled for next week.
- All decisions as to the holding of subsequent Stated Meetings and public hearings of City Council will be made at a later date, subject to updated information from public health authorities on the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on the City of Philadelphia.
- Workplace guidance: Social distancing is recommended by public health authorities to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Following that recommendation, employees of City Council may work from home for all or some of this time. Each Member of City Council will determine whether work from home is appropriate for the members of their staff, either at City Hall or in district offices. Whenever possible, accommodations should be made for Council employees with underlying health conditions, who are caring for sick family members, who are 60 years old or over, or who are caring for children impacted by school closings.
- Sick time policy adjustments: City Council is relaxing its Sick Leave policy to encourage people with symptoms of the coronavirus (dry cough, fever, shortness of breath) to stay home and consult their health care provider.
- Council employees included under this policy may use accrued leave, including sick leave, for the entire two-week period without providing a sick note.
- Council employees without sick leave will be advanced up to 10 days sick leave during any period of self-quarantine.
- In keeping with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Council employees who are required to self-quarantine or are sick with acute respiratory illness will not be required to present a healthcare provider’s note to return to work.
- Self-quarantine: We are asking that any Council employees with symptoms of coronavirus (dry cough, fever, shortness of breath) to self-quarantine at home.
- Any Council employee who meets any of the following criteria must notify their Council Member or direct supervisor immediately and will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days:
- Being evaluated as a person under investigation for coronavirus
- Received a diagnosis of coronavirus
- Traveled to a Level 2 or Level 3 country, as defined by the CDC, within the past two weeks
- Had contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with coronavirus
Council President Clarke assured members and staff that further workplace guidance and updates to the Council calendar would be available to staff as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve. He urged both staff and residents to continue to monitor correspondence from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and other reliable sources of science-based information.