The Board of Supervisors on Friday put in place a series of policies to protect county employees from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Madison County Administrator Shelton Vance provided several recommendations to the board which were approved unanimously.

Starting immediately, the county is taking the following steps:

• County employees with underlying conditions or family members with such maladies will be re-assigned to the extent possible so they do not interact with the general public.

• Visitations at the county jail will be limited to video conferencing for friends and family members. Attorneys will still be permitted to meet with clients in person, but it will be behind glass through a microphone.

• First responders from the county’s volunteer fire departments who do not possess personal protective equipment (gloves, masks, etc.) will not enter a household if the 911 call or report that initiated the emergency response is centered around respiratory issues, except in life-threatening situations.

• Barriers will be put in place to keep the general public from approaching county employees in their personal offices.

• If county employees show symptoms, or have loved ones or family members who show symptoms, county department heads now have the authority to send that member home. The employee will use accrued personal leave unless diagnosed with COVID-19. At that point, the employee will be eligible for two weeks of paid sick leave regardless of accrued personal time.

• Authorized Vance to purchase and distribute sanity cleaning supplies, including germicidal disinfectant, to county offices and departments to be used on frequently patronized counters and common areas.

• Non-essential travel is to be suspended for all county employees until April 30, with a special exception for Madison County Sheriff’’s Department prisoner transfers (which MDOC has already suspended) or extradition calls.

Board President Gerald Steen commended Vance and County Attorney Mike Espy for coming up with such sweeping motions in a short amount of time.

“I can tell there’s been a lot of thought put into these policies,” Steen said. “Lots of municipalities are doing different things, but I feel like this covers our employees. We want to take care of them and make sure that they understand that if they do come down with this virus, the county will continue to pay them while they are isolated at home.

“It’s very important for our employees to know this board is taking this seriously, like everyone else is.”

Vance said the plan he’s outlined, which he said will likely have to be amended as the situation progresses, is an attempt to provide as much stability as possible for Madison County residents.

Vance and Espy met, via teleconference, with department heads and elected officials from across the county, including representatives from the Tax Collector, the Tax Assessor, the comptroller, the Circuit Clerk, the Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney and Emergency Manager, among others.

“This has been a trying time for everyone, including this board,” Vance said. “But what I have seen this week is an exemplary demonstration of commitment to the citizens of Madison County. All the elected officials have been extremely cooperative and supportive of maintaining as much continuity as possible.”