As health officials urge Americans to keep their distance from each other, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management should allow federal employees to work remotely, Rep. Don Beyer (VA-08) said in a letter Friday.
"The current lack of telework options increases social contact and limits the positive effects of social distancing to reduce community spread," Beyer wrote to the OPM director.
Beyer said a number of federal workers contacted him and said they were uncomfortable taking public transit and "working in environments with hundreds to thousands of people, potentially unaware they have the virus."
Letting federal workers stay home could save lives, Beyer said.
"Now is the time to act before more employees become sick and lose their lives because of inaction," he wrote.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) is requiring some Washington, D.C., employees to telework after learning that an employee is being tested for the coronavirus.
The SEC is requiring all employees and contractors who work on the ninth floor of the D.C. headquarters to telework, "out of an abundance of caution." The patient worked on that floor.
All other headquarters personnel were encouraged to telework.