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Washington gets back to construction, with safeguards in place

Governor Jay Inslee is allowing construction work on existing building sites, with a healthy dose of rules and regulations to guard against the coronavirus.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A big part of the economy in Washington state is moving again. At construction sites large and small, they are working with new health safety rules in place. 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee calls this "phase one" of restarting construction, which allows construction to resume at current job sites. The requirements to do it runs several pages long. Among them: employers must provide personal protective equipment, including gloves, goggles, or face shields as appropriate. And of course, masks and social distancing. 

From along the Vancouver Waterfront to a custom home build in Camas, subcontractors like Carter Murray are following the rules.

"(Home builder) Affinity's done a really good job of laying it out for us, right when we walk in, sign in sheet and everything like that, it’s not too hard to follow at all," said Murray.


Credit: Tim Gordon, KGW

"We’re working under some pretty strict modifications but we think it’s super important that we follow that to the 'T'. We definitely don’t want any kind of interruption in the workflow again," said John Colgate of Affinity Homes.

Colgate says it is great to be back to building, great for clients with a timeline for moving in, and great for workers.

"There’s a lot of families that are fed based on the construction industry here in this county, and it’s gonna be different from here on out. But I think everyone’s adjusting quickly, and the new norm, I don’t think it’s gonna slow things down at all," said Colgate.

In Oregon, construction with safeguards never stopped.  

The Building Industry Association of Washington estimates its workers lost out on $690 million in wages. They want everyone to stay safe, so the next phase can happen to open up more of this industry.

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