The City of Solon continues to take precautions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, and employees are still coming to work despite the closure of most of the city buildings.
There have been no layoffs, Mayor Edward H. Kraus said last week, but eventually there could be some changes.
“We may look at part-timers at some point,” Mayor Kraus said. “That is something we may take into consideration so those folks will get to apply for unemployment benefits.”
He expects to meet with Finance Director Matthew Rubino this week. Mayor Kraus said Mr. Rubino has made it clear “we will continue to make payroll.”
The city has about 300 full-time employees and 450 part-timer workers, according to Human Resource Director Nancy Stolarsky.
“Every day we take a look at what experts are telling us to do,” Mayor Kraus continued. There are essential city services that will always be provided, including emergency medical services of the Solon Fire Department and garbage pickup by the service workers, among others.
“Our job is to serve the public.”
Mayor Kraus said that employees of closed buildings including the Solon Community Center, Solon Center for the Arts, Solon Senior Center and Water Reclamation Plant still are working, but complying with all degrees of physical distancing as recommended by the Ohio Department of Health.
“There is no getting together at the water cooler or having those normal everyday occurrences,” Mayor Kraus said.
Access for the public has been closed off at these buildings, he noted, which is based on a directive from the health and safety experts.
“That doesn’t mean we have to stop connecting,” he said.
He said employees at the art center, for example, are still communicating with families that want to sign up for classes and also trying to work on virtual classes with their students.
“You have to be creative in these times and think outside the box,” Mayor Kraus said.
The Solon Senior Center staff has been doing daily calls to seniors who are homebound.
“No one wants to feel isolated and alone, and we are trying to make sure the community is connected to each other,” he said.
City Hall remains open this week, Mayor Kraus said, with physical distancing requirements “expected from everybody.”
“It’s a different type of work environment,” he said.
At the city Police Department, social distancing is also in place during what is “unprecedented times,” Chief Richard Tonelli said.
“As public servants, we are on the frontline when situations like this arise,” he said. “It is imperative that we continue to meet the community needs to the best of our ability.
“As such, we are continuing to operate and function even with our buildings being closed to the public.”
In the department’s jail, visitation has been canceled. They have experienced two likely cases of inmates reporting potentially false flu-like symptoms. Both cases ended with the medical director or ER staff not authorizing further testing and both were released from custody.
Lt. Tonelli said at this time his department has not been notified that any of its employees have been infected with the COVID-19.