City of Wilmington adds sick day pay amid coronavirus pandemic


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council met Tuesday night in front of a nearly empty room, following guidelines by the county that discourage gatherings of more than 10 people.

“Obviously there are those out there that still believe that this is maybe a joke, and it’s not,” Mayor Bill Saffo said. “This is a very serious situation.”

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The City of Wilmington is making preparations as the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold.

“City staff has been working around the clock as to how we can continue to conduct the work of the city, the day to day operations of the city, without jeopardizing the health and welfare of the employees,” Saffo said.

For many city employees that will mean working remotely, but not everyone has that option.

“On the front lines we have our police officers and our fire department, they’re going to be right there, our trash people that are picking up the trash every single day in our community,” Mayor Saffo said. “We know that there’s a possibility that one of these folks is going to get this virus.”

With that in mind, council added a resolution to Tuesday night’s agenda. It allows city employees to continue to receive pay once their allotted sick days have been used up. Saffo says that money would be paid back gradually by the employee by December.

“Obviously some of them will be out of work because their children are not in school and they’re not going to be able to find daycare,” Saffo said. “We’re going to have other employees that possibly will be exposed to this.”

Following a similar resolution passed by the county, city leaders added wording that those who contract the virus on the job wouldn’t have to repay any money.

“We don’t want to have anybody penalized because they contracted the virus and had to be sent home,” the mayor added.

Council skipped over some previously scheduled items, including a proclamation naming the week of March 20 Cape Fear Craft Beer Week. They unanimously voted to approve everything else on the agenda.

Click here to view the agenda.