This story has been updated.

City Manager Erik Walsh issued a new directive to City employees Friday in an attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus: if the employee or a member of their household is returning from international travel, the employee is expected to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“You will be allowed to remote work/telecommute during this time,” Walsh said. “If you are unable to remote work, you will be provided administrative leave.”

While on administrative leave, employees are required to call their supervisors daily.

It’s unclear how many employees this may impact, although the directive comes as many San Antonio residents conclude their spring break week and may have traveled abroad.

On Thursday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg declared a public health emergency after a previous declaration expired and a local resident tested positive for COVID-19. This resident was the first confirmed case of coronavirus unrelated to the repatriated evacuees quarantined at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Responding to Walsh’s new precautionary directive, Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) plans to self-quarantine as he and his family will return from spring break in Colombia.

After seeing Walsh’s directive, Pelaez called the city manager to see if it would apply to him. Walsh told the city councilman that he couldn’t give Pelaez orders, but Pelaez thought it would be a good idea to follow the same guidelines as City staff.

“We will be setting up Skype and I’ll be Skyping in from my laptop for our meetings. Nothing changes, all my appointments are still on the calendar,” Pelaez said.

Asked about the precaution at a Saturday morning press conference, Nirenberg called Pelaez’s quarantining “extra, extra cautious,” and said it wasn’t a mandatory quarantine.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.