“Reasonable place to start”: Some US states resume construction

As state governors across the US mull the next steps in managing the Covid-19 pandemic, Pennsylvania has called for all construction sites to reopen from 1 May, providing workers wear face masks and stay six feet apart.

On Thursday, 23 April Governor Tom Wolf said contractors must also provide handwashing stations, clean and disinfect common areas frequently, stagger shifts, and limit gatherings and tool sharing, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Wolf said construction was a "reasonable place to start" in reopening the economy.

The state, which is the sixth worst hit in the US with 42,708 cases so far and 1,823 deaths, shut down all construction on 19 March.

The latest order applies to all construction sites, including residential and commercial, new construction and renovation.

Elsewhere, Washington state is taking a similarly cautious approach.

Governor Jay Inslee (pictured) said Friday, 24 April that construction projects underway before the coronavirus outbreak could resume, provided contractors publish a Covid-19 safety plan and post it on site.

Agreed by contractors and unions, the recommendations say each site must have a designated Covid-19 supervisor, and give the workforce virus safety training.

Inslee said: "Our strategy is working and we need to keep with it. We would much rather protect people from sickness and death now, so that we don’t have to go through this crisis all over again later."

Washington state was among the early outbreak locales. Confirmed case numbers stand at 13,521, and there have been 749 deaths.

Image: Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announcing measures to restart construction on 24 April 2020 (Gov. Jay Inslee/Twitter)

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