Oak Ridge National Laboratory remains in limited operations, a spokesperson said Monday.
The lab will remain in that mode “for the immediate future,” ORNL spokesperson Morgan McCorkle said.
“No timelines have been set, and ORNL will continue to adapt its plans to the developing situation,” McCorkle said.
She said the lab will continue to be informed by guidance from the U.S. Department of Energy, the Trump Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local authorities.
Tennessee began a phased re-opening of its economy last week with certain guidelines in place. The guidelines include the use of face masks and physical separation when possible, and the use of a maximum 50 percent capacity in many cases.
Restaurants in 89 of the state’s 95 counties, including Anderson and Roane, were allowed to re-open Monday, April 27. Retail stores could re-open Wednesday, April 29, and gyms and exercise facilities could re-open Friday, May 1. Barber shops, hair salons, nail spas, and massage therapy services can re-open Wednesday, May 6.
Six Tennessee counties that have their own locally run health departments—Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Madison, Shelby, and Sullivan counties—can develop their own re-opening plans.
The statewide stay-at-home order, which had kept non-essential businesses closed, was not extended past Thursday, April 30. The order had been issued Thursday, April 2, and then extended. It followed an earlier “safer at home” order that was issued Monday, March 30.
The orders and re-opening are all part of the state’s response to COVID-19, a contagious respiratory illness that can be deadly.
Oak Ridge Today reported April 1 that more than 60 percent of the 5,200 ORNL staff members were working remotely. The remote work at ORNL was being done by staff members in a wide variety of jobs that included support functions like accounting, auditing, legal, technical editing, project management, and other activities. It also included researchers who could monitor data remotely or could use the time to write or edit research publications and similar work.
At that time, between 1,500 and 2,000 staff members continued to work on site, mostly in facility operations positions that require hands-on tasks or monitoring. Those included technicians, front-line supervisors, electricians, firefighters, security personnel, and other types of workers.
Last week, ORNL requested quotes for cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE), including disinfecting wipes and spray, personal and commercial hand sanitizer dispensers, Lysol and antibacterial soap, and Tyvek suits and face masks.
The lab is looking for suppliers who have the products in stock or can have them in the next 10 days.
Asked about the request for quotes and whether the lab is running low on these supplies, ORNL said it has provided some PPE to the Federal Emergency Management Agency as directed by DOE headquarters.
“Since most ORNL staff members are working from home, this has allowed us to focus cleaning efforts on the highest-need areas,” ORNL said. “We do not anticipate a problem in keeping necessary areas clean.”