In the wake of coronavirus-related business shutdowns impacting the construction industry in Boston, Pennsylvania and other localities, ABC is urging President Trump to recognize construction as an essential service and keep workers employed to preserve the industry's current and future ability to build and maintain health care facilities, respond to critical infrastructure requirements and aid in recovery efforts after natural disasters.
In a March 23 letter, ABC President and CEO Mike Bellaman wrote: “ABC members are committed to the health, safety and welfare of our workforce and the public. We ask you to continue to treat construction as an essential service, as outlined in the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s March 19 Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19 Response and refrain from any action to curtail ongoing critical construction services.
“As a builder, you understand the importance of construction to America’s response to the current conditions, infrastructure and economy, and the need to continue construction activity in a safe manner that follows best practices and implements the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidelines in order to respond to this unprecedented crisis.
“The impact of shutting down construction work will be severe for the construction of critical infrastructure and housing. Worker layoffs will make it extremely difficult for construction companies to meet the demand to maintain existing healthcare facilities and build new ones, retrofit existing structures (such as dorms, hotels and ships) for emergency use, modify manufacturing facilities to meet an increased demand for medical supplies and provide new transportation corridors for people and materials. Moreover, such a hit to the construction industry workforce will undermine current and future efforts to recover from natural disasters. A virus pandemic does not halt hurricanes, tornadoes or floods. Governors across the country have recognized the important role construction will play during this difficult time and, to various capacities, most state executive thus far has permitted construction activity to remain open.
“ABC recognizes that each construction project is unique and therefore a local decision as to whether the project can be safely delivered is appropriate. ABC has encouraged our members to implement strict measures for the safety of their workforce during these times, including significantly enhanced and modified safety plans and stop work plans to effectively mitigate the risk for workers.”
Visit abc.org/coronavirus to access health and safety recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control, resources for enhancing workforce protection, preparedness for sudden jobsite shutdowns, guidance on the legal, compliance and economic impacts of coronavirus, legislative action updates and more.