By Kyle Schwarm, ABC of Wisconsin Marketing & Communication Director
Wis. Gov. Tony Evers’ “safer at home” emergency order that is now in effect statewide, closes non-essential businesses, but classifies construction as an “essential” business. This classification has created some confusion that warrants clarification.
The term “construction” is to be construed broadly to avoid any impacts on essential infrastructure.
“The order is meant to help address the COVID-19 pandemic, so contractors should make a determination as to what projects are necessary and consider which projects can wait,” said John Mielke, Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin president. “In addition to following the spirit of the order, we must weigh the benefits of what’s necessary with the potential harm to the health and well-being of our workers, their families and the general public.”
We must weigh the benefits of what’s necessary with the potential harm to the health and well-being of our workers, their families and the general public.
The order closes nonessential businesses and directs everyone to stay home and practice six feet social distancing when outside or in public as specifically deemed essential. Travel is prohibited except when deemed essential.
Contractors who determine certain projects must go forward are encouraged to follow the best practices described in WEDC’s COVID-19 Response Plan, comply with social distancing requirements and implement other additional health and safety protection measures. While it is not explicitly required in the state’s order, the WEDC encourages each business to develop a written COVID-19 response plan that is unique to each individual business and type of work being done. Guidelines for planning are provided in this document from WEDC. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services also provides guidelines for planning here.