Contractors take precautions to continue service during pandemic
MILWAUKEE, WI (CBS 58) – Following Governor Tony Evers' order issued on March 24th, some construction sites have continued working, while others have opted to halt their projects.
Since the order was vague when it comes to this industry, builders associations say it’s up to contractors to determine if each individual project is aesthetic or essential.
“The position is individual for each contractor based on whether their business is aesthetic or essential,” says Diane Welhouse, executive director of NARI Milwaukee. “Each contractor has to make that decision for themselves and for each project that they’re doing.”
“It’s a tough business, but it’s also frustrating because it’s not going to work if we don’t stay home,” says Erik Lindberg, co-owner of Community Building and Restoration.
Following the governor’s order, Lindberg closed his restoration businesses at least until April 24.
“Behind the scenes, people will still be touching the same tools, opening the same doors, crossing paths in the shop,” says Lindberg. “I realized you can’t socially separate and do carpentry.”
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry says being deemed essential can be different for each contractor and for each project that they’re doing.
“Projects that are already in process, obviously we are fulfilling the CDC guidelines where we’re working on projects that are considered to be essential,” said Welhouse.
Building associations says it’s all about adjusting to a new kind of business to help keep us safe. That includes sealing off areas being worked on, posting signs of workers in the area, and keeping distance.
They admit projects have required more patience as they scale back on the number of workers present.
“We’ve been here for 59 years, we’re here today, and we’re going to be here tomorrow to continue the relationship between our members and the homeowners,” says Welhouse.
“I hope people can continue to hire local businesses as they can afford to do so,” says Lindberg. “It’s the way we’ll get through this, thinking of ourselves as a community.”
While some contractors say they’re not sure when they’ll be able to resume normal services, they have turned to things like virtual tours and longer timelines.