State’s construction industry reopens

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After going cold nearly a month ago, Michigan’s construction industry came back online effective Thursday.

The reprieve from quarantine came as an amendment to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” executive order, halting any business deemed nonessential to sustain or protect life.

According to the amendment, workers in the construction industry, including plumbers, electricians, HVAC technicians, etc., may resume work provided they practice Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-mandated safety guidelines, such as staying 6 feet away from others and wearing of proper PPE, as well as develop a COVID-19 preparedness and response plan.

Construction companies must also restrict the number of workers on a premise, promote remote work to the fullest extent possible and prevent workers from entering a premise if they show respiratory symptoms or have had contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19.

“We’ve been coordinating with local advocacy groups like ABC (Associated Builders and Contractors) and the Grand Rapids Chamber, as well as local law firms in order to provide perspective, collaborate on a plan and show a vote of confidence that we’re ready to reopen our industry with a heavy emphasis on sound safety plans and practices for COVID-19,” said Corey Bixby, a spokesperson for Orion Construction in Grand Rapids.

According to the amendment, forestry workers, outdoor power equipment technicians, parking enforcement workers and workers in the real estate industry also will be able to return to work at the same time provided they adhere to the same regulations.

For real estate professionals, any showings, inspections, appraisals, photography or videography, or final walkthroughs must be performed by appointment and must be limited to no more than four people on the premise at any one time. No in-person open houses are permitted.

Additionally, private showings may only be arranged for owner-occupied homes, vacant homes, vacant land, commercial property and industrial property.

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