Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said 65 percent of workers are...

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said 65 percent of workers are furloughed with pay. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Freeport Mayor Robert Kennedy said he has been in quarantine for 10 days after delivering a citation at a party to a village employee who tested positive for coronavirus.

The village has also furloughed 65% of nonessential workers who were not needed to work from home, Kennedy said. All furloughed employees, about 80 to 90 staff members, are on paid leave, he said.

The village is following Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's guidelines of keeping nonessential staff at home through at least March 31. 

Kennedy said he has not shown any symptoms, but was advised by the Nassau County Department of Health to quarantine for 14 days. He has been separated from his wife in a different part of his home.

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing between the courts, the electric and police department,” he said.

He said he was told a village employee at a birthday party he attended was in close contact for at least 10 minutes but wasn’t aware of any other village officials in quarantine. Close contact is defined as handshakes, hugging, kissing or talking face to face for at least 10 minutes, he said.

He said he had no further information about the employee who tested positive. 

As the spread of the coronavirus gains momentum across the world, here are some facts about the outbreak. Credit: Newsday / Jeffrey Basinger

The village has closed the senior and recreation centers and stopped all trials in village court. Village Hall and the court are still accepting payments, but workers are separated by Plexiglas. The village is not processing delinquent payments for electric or water bills, Kennedy said.

The village’s 370 volunteer firefighters are cleaning firehouses, but firefighters are being asked not to congregate in large groups at the firehouses. Firefighters are being directed to respond to calls directly, rather than at the firehouse.

The village has assembled a coronavirus task force with 16 people from various village departments, who meet for a conference call three times a week to discuss resident services.

Kennedy said he does not expect the coronavirus emergency to affect village finances.

“If it’s an emergency, all of our expenses are refundable, similar to Sandy,” Kennedy said. “This is not a financial interest. This is a health issue, and we’re doing what we can to minimize effects on hospitals to facilitate a rapid response to slow the spread of the virus.”

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