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Detroit city workers back on the job after being furloughed

Jobs have changed so workers can stay safe and practice social distancing

DETROIT – Some 200 furloughed workers are now back on the job across the city.

Their jobs have changed so they can stay safe and practice social distancing. Crews are back mowing the fields and cleaning the sidewalks while sweeping city streets.

Hundreds of Detroit city workers were allowed back to work Monday after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer reopened outdoor work.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 43,754 as of Monday afternoon, including 4,049 deaths, state officials report.

“It feels great. I know the employers are happy, they’ve been chomping at the bit to get back, providing service to the residents and the city. I’m happy about it too. We go all winter waiting to get back out to cut grass, essentially. So this is what we all enjoy to do, and take pride in,” said Jacob Fawaz, supervisor of GSD Grounds.

But crews are being forced to stay socially distant. Even in a job where much of the day is spent alone. They have their temperatures tested each morning using forehead thermometers. Each worker is required to fill out a symptom questionaire and must have it approved before being assigned to a part of the city.

After that they wear masks and are only allowed three people to a truck between parks. The riskiest part of the day.

Mary Ellen Clark walks around Peterson Park on Detroit’s west side every day. She and her two friends were happy to see crews out.

"The nice part about it is just about every year they cut the grass at this time right before Mother’s Day so when people come out to celebrate they have a beautiful park to do it.

Crews are hoping to get five to eight parks done. In parts of the city’s east side, they have not quite gotten there yet.

There is also supposed to be a schedule of when parks will be mowed that’ll be up on the city’s website.

As you can see for most of these parks, those scheduled maintenance days can’t come too soon.


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