Charlotte closing buildings to the public. Workers to get emergency leave amid coronavirus

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Charlotte is preparing to close city-owned buildings to the public to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, city manager Marcus Jones said Monday, and will provide emergency paid leave for its workers.

City council unanimously approved a resolution Monday to allow Jones to adjust the city’s leave policies and put an emergency leave program in place. The leave would be available for salaried and hourly employees, Jones said.

North Carolina has 40 reported cases of coronavirus, seven of which are in Mecklenburg County.

The city is focusing on providing “essential services” in areas like public safety and health, Jones said. Many employees are working from home, he said, and Charlotte is looking into staggering shifts to keep minimum staffing levels.

We believe that in the short term, that is what can set us up to keep our employees safe as well as provide services,” he said.

At this point, Jones said, no changes are planned to bus services, despite a “certain decrease in staff.” There will be a reduction in some solid waste services, he said, though he emphasized that weekly trash pickup is the top priority.

We’re going to pull back services, but we’re not stopping them,” he said.

City Council also voted to give $1 million toward housing assistance to a Foundation for the Carolinas fund for those impacted financially by the coronavirus. Mecklenburg County is also contributing money, according to the city council’s agenda, and Charlotte-based LendingTree donated $1 million.

Jones also told the council to plan not to meet again this month. Mecklenburg County’s health director said Monday she will ban public gatherings of 50 people or more. The White House advised against gatherings of 10 people or more.