‘Restricted Access’ to Patuxent River NAS due to snow; DC federal offices closed

UPDATE March 21, 12:20 p.m.: Due to deteriorating weather and road conditions, the Naval Air Station in Patuxent River, Maryland, will operate under “Restricted Access” starting at 2 p.m.

“Critical personnel should remain at work as scheduled,” an NAS release said. “Noncritical personnel should depart 2 hours earlier than their normal departure time. Civil service employees designated non-critical may request unscheduled leave if departing prior to their staggered departure time. Admin leave will be granted for the hours after staggered departure time. Check with your command for specific guidance.

Federal offices in the Washington, D.C. metro region are closed today.

The Office of Personnel Management made the decision after at 3 a.m. call with the Councils of Government.

OPM reminded agencies that emergency and telework-ready employees are required to work and must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements.

The decision to close the federal government comes after every other major school system, college and university and many local governments decided to close ahead of the impending snow storm.

WTOP, Federal News Radio’s sister station, is reporting that while snow totals for D.C. metro area  have been downgraded from initial estimates, as a snowstorm moves through the region, it could bring parts of the WTOP listening area up to 14 inches of snow.

Along with the Washington, D.C. areas, the Federal Executive Boards in Philadelphia, New York City and Baltimore also recommended federal offices close today.

The Baltimore FEB will have a follow-up call Wednesday evening, if necessary, to determine the operating status for Thursday morning. It had recommended an early dismissal at 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, with the option of unscheduled liberal leave and telework.

“Emergency and telework-ready employees required to work must follow their agency’s policies, including written telework agreements. Employees should verify operating status with their individual agency,” Lisa Makosewski, the Philadelphia FEB’s executive director, said in an email.

The recommendations of the FEBs are not binding and each individual agency can make its own decision about whether to open.

This is the second time OPM has closed D.C. metro areas offices this winter, the other time being earlier this month because of strong winds. OPM delayed the opening of federal offices in the DC area because of winter weather two other times this year.

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