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Pennsylvania Set to Reopen Construction Sites on May 1, with New COVID-19 Measures

Pennsylvania construction sites are allowed to return-to-work as of May 1, pursuant to a new order issued April 24, 2020, by Gov. Tom Wolf.  Pursuant to the order, every construction site must implement mitigation measures aimed at limiting the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). There are also further restrictions on the number of people on a job site, depending on the nature and size of the site.

Mitigation efforts include physical distancing; enhanced hygiene and sanitation protocols; creation of hand-washing stations; limitations on gatherings and meetings, staggering of shifts and breaks; and employee health screenings consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other site-control measures required include limits on deliveries and visitors; restricting carpooling; appointing a “Pandemic Safety Officer;” and, on large-scale construction projects, adoption of a written safety plan.  

The order also provides for limits on the number of workers – combined prime, contractors, and subcontractors – allowed on job sites for detached one-family and two-family stand-alone homes and townhouses. That limit is four workers for small commercial properties and detached one-family and two-family stand-alone homes and townhouses, and one worker for each 500 square feet of construction on larger projects. Delivery people, inspectors, and others not actively engaged in construction do not count. Certain government projects are exempt from these limits.   

Note construction-related inspections and appraisals, including those associated with construction financing loans, are also permitted to resume as of May 1.

Wolf has announced a red-yellow-green system as part of plans for a phased reopening, which will be implemented on a regional basis. Based on metrics developed by Carnegie Mellon University, Wolf said he hopes to begin the phased reopening in Northwest and North-Central Pennsylvania on May 8.  The red-yellow-green system allows for adjustment down – and theoretically back up – as the number of cases regionally decline, both in the short-term and in the fall and winter months. 

For more information and updates on the developing COVID-19 situation, visit GT’s Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force: Coronavirus Disease 2019.