Ascension DPW employees sent home to stay healthy for now, parish-wide unemployment filings reach 2,000
GONZALES - Ascension Parish DPW employees were sent home to isolate until plans can be put in place for them to work a safe distance away from one another. Council Chairwoman Teri Casso said the plan was implemented in case there’s an emergency that requires their response.
An example of such an emergency would be a heavy rainfall threat. Parish leaders estimate there’s a billion dollars' worth of flood mitigation equipment that must be manned by DPW personnel during emergencies. Making sure those employees are healthy is part of the reason why they were sent home temporarily.
“It was important because when we get two months down the road, three months into hurricane season, we have people who are well and healthy,” Casso said. “So, we implemented a plan where in the past all those guys went out five to a truck. We couldn’t do that anymore and have to minimize their exposure to each other.”
The plan for them to return will likely be implemented next week.
Wednesday, the Louisiana Workforce Commission reported nearly 2,000 people applied for unemployment in Ascension Parish. It’s a telling sign of the conditions facing the parish with numerous retail shops now closed.
“We know that this economic recovery is going to be different,” Casso said. “There are no washers, dryers, dishwashers to go purchase. Our economy is not just going to take off to go and buy things. So, we are having to consider what that global impact is going to mean in our community.”
Some items up for discussion that are not yet approved are possible property tax abatements to help businesses get back on their feet.
Meanwhile, while coronavirus concerns still loom in the city limits of Gonzales, workers at a popular drug store began marking their sidewalks with chalk for social distancing. The store hopes it will keep people a safe distance from one another as they pick up items and medicine.