Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department laborers (L to R) Skyler Holsclaw, Ben Mikel, Dusty Wiggs (in the skid loader) and Travis Thomas construct the split rail fence at the parking lot of the sledding hill at Kelly Park on Tuesday. With the city of Warsaw shutting down nonessential services as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, due to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order Monday because of the coronavirus pandemic, many city employees will be off work for at least the next two weeks with full pay. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Warsaw Parks and Recreation Department laborers (L to R) Skyler Holsclaw, Ben Mikel, Dusty Wiggs (in the skid loader) and Travis Thomas construct the split rail fence at the parking lot of the sledding hill at Kelly Park on Tuesday. With the city of Warsaw shutting down nonessential services as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, due to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s stay-at-home order Monday because of the coronavirus pandemic, many city employees will be off work for at least the next two weeks with full pay. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
The city of Warsaw will remain open for essential services – by telephone or email – but many of its employees will stay home for the next two weeks with full pay beginning Wednesday.

On Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb delivered a statewide address to order that Hoosiers remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities. The stay-at-home order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. today and goes until 11:59 p.m. April 6 unless extended if warranted.

In a telephone interview today, Mayor Joe Thallemer said there could be someone to answer the city departments’ telephones and respond to email and phone messages while the city is pared down to just essential services.

“We’re putting skeleton crews in place so our employees are not on top of one another,” he said.

People can still call the city offices and leave messages, and Thallemer said someone should be checking those messages regularly and getting back to callers.

This will remain in place until 11:59 p.m. April 6, but Thallemer said the city will re-evaluate the plan as it gets closer to the end of the two weeks.

At the March 16 Common Council meeting, the council approved on first and second reading an ordinance amending 2020 salary ordinances. The ordinance allows for a city employee to be paid by working at home, though it wasn’t a blanket for everyone to work at home. It was amended by the council to state that emergency stay-at-home pay may not exceed 60 calendar days at a time without further approval.

The ordinance also allowed for the mayor to declare a public health emergency for the city, which he did Monday, which allows for the emergency pay to the city employees during this time. The ordinance is only good to the end of the year, Thallemer said, and for 60 days at a time by executive order. At this point, the executive order issued by the mayor is good only for the next two weeks.

“It’s been challenging, but having that ordinance in place, and using sooner than I thought it would be,” has been good “and it was approved by the council,” Thallemer said.