Where do construction workers factor into COVID-19 restrictions?

Investigations

AUSTIN (KXAN) — KXAN continues to field questions about construction workers at job sites, especially in light of Tuesday’s stay-at-home orders in the city of Austin and Williamson County.

First, the state’s Department of Licensing and Regulation does not regulate construction workers, but noted that whether construction is allowed is up to the local agency and its order.

Emily Tuttle, a spokeswoman with the city of Austin, told KXAN commercial construction is not allowed with Tuesday’s order, with some exceptions.

“Under the Order signed this morning, there will be no commercial construction, except in the limited exception where it’s constructing essential and critical assets. (See Ex B, 2p). Construction will be allowed for public works and residential purposes if it meets the other criteria, like affordable housing, etc.  Several City of Austin capital improvement projects are categorized as critical infrastructure under the public works clause and will continue construction. Crews are continuing to use best practices for sanitizing, distancing, etc.”

Emily Tuttle, City of Austin spokeswoman

But in Williamson County, spokeswoman Connie Odom, citing Section 10 of their order, said commercial construction is permitted. Their construction language is listed under “real property related services.”

Elsewhere, Brian Turmail, a spokesman with the Associated General Contractors of America, said states such as California, New York and Illinois have also classified construction as essential.

“We have been sharing resources from OSHA with our members so they know to follow the latest guidelines on how to safeguard their employees during the pandemic,” he said. “It does indeed vary by state, and in some cases by metro area.”

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