Updated COVID-19 guidance for employees – March 11, 2020

Dear King County employee,

Governor Jay Inslee, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and other regional leaders jointly announced new strategies to minimize the spread of COVID-19 at a press conference at King Street Center this morning.

The new health order includes:

  • All events of more than 250 people are prohibited, including large conventions or conferences, sporting events, concerts, fundraisers, or other recreational events
  • In addition, events with fewer than 250 attendees are prohibited unless event organizers take prescribed steps to minimize risk.

In line with today’s announcement, King County is providing the following guidance to employees (Note: this applies to Executive Branch employees. Employees in separately elected agencies [listed below] will receive guidance from their leaders):

Telecommute: Employees should telecommute if their work allows for it. Managers and supervisors should work with their employees to permit telecommuting wherever possible, and be creative in helping to maximize telecommuting. Employees must receive the approval of their supervisors before commencing telecommuting. The supervisors of employees who are able to telecommute but choose not to, should consult with their department’s HR Managers in those situations. Please find telecommute resources here and submit a signed telecommute agreement to your supervisor. You can also get KCIT guidance here on the necessary technology tools (SharePoint).

Schools: With some school districts and individual schools announcing extended closures, employees may need to telecommute or take leave. An employee may use sick leave if an employee’s child’s school is closed by order of a public official for health-related reasons or place of care is closed by order of a public official for a health-related reason. This also applies to the closing of private schools. An employee may telecommute if feasible, or use accrued or donated paid leave during their absence. If the employee does not have any leave to use, the employee should discuss the matter with their department’s human resources staff.

Meetings: All non-essential King County in-person large group employee meetings and gatherings will be canceled until further notice, or follow the guidance issued today. Please work with your supervisors and use good judgment about which meetings are essential and limit the number of people present where possible. Conduct essential and non-essential meetings using Skype or teleconference where practical.

Public Events: Departments should postpone or cancel all non-essential public meetings or events until the Health Officer’s order is rescinded. Please work with your department leadership and follow the guidance issued today. If departments would like guidance about particular meetings or events, please elevate those concerns for advice and decisions.

Employee questions: See our answers to common questions for King County employees about our operations during this outbreak.

Help prevent the spread and stay informed: We all have an important role to play in preventing the spread of this virus. Follow personal hygiene and health guidance at Public Health’s website www.kingcounty.gov/COVID and blog www.publichealthinsider.com.

Separately elected agencies: Department of Assessments, Department of Judicial Administration, District Court, King County Council, King County Elections, King County Sheriff’s Office, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Superior Court.