The City of South Burlington hopes to have its more than 40 furloughed municipal employees back to work by Monday, Aug. 3.

“They are coming back,” City Manager Kevin Dorn said Friday.

After the COVID-19 pandemic hit Vermont in March, the city had initially thought employees would be furloughed until at least May 18.

By early June, Dorn told The Other Paper 43 city employees would not be back until at least July 3.

After a further review they got extended four more weeks – delaying efforts to restore local government to full operation.

Dorn said a number of city employees did continue to work from home when the pandemic came to Vermont.

COVID-19 first started to affect people in Wuhan, China, in late 2019. The mild to severe respiratory illness was first reported in Vermont in March and there have been 56 deaths in the state as of this week.

Dorn said two South Burlington city employees tested positive for COVID-19 but have since recovered.

The city has 171 employees, he said.

Dorn said the furloughed employees were split among three sites: public works, the library and city hall. Some municipal departments considered essential – like police, fire and rescue – were exempt from the city’s furlough plan.

Dorn said the furloughed employees are returning in different streams. The public works department currently has half its crew working one day and the other half the next day. They will continue to alternate.

He said the library, which is in the University Mall on Dorset Street, has been open fully on Wednesdays.

City Hall is trying to ensure proper staffing in each of the four offices: City clerk, city manager, planning and zoning and parks and recreation.

The goal of having everyone back in early August is still subject to change, especially if COVID-19 statistics change, Dorn said.

He provided a breakdown of furloughs in June: Highway Department - 13; Stormwater - 5; Water Quality - 2; Library - 6; Parks/Recreation Administration - 4; Parks/Recreation Workers - 3; City Clerk - 3; City Manager - 2; Finance - 2; Planning/Zoning - 2; Tax Department – 1.

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