Governor Clarifies Construction Exemption

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On March 19, 2020, a coalition of construction associations, including PHCC, determined a comprehensive response from the state was needed to address conflicting permissibly of construction operations in county public health orders/directives.

This coalition prepared and transmitted a policy recommendation which clearly established construction and related services as essential to the well-being of Californians to the Governor Newsom’s office the afternoon of March 19.

On the evening of March 19, Governor Newsom announced his statewide shelter at home order. Unfortunately, that order did not provide the sought clarity on continuing of construction operations, and regrettably created more confusion. Representatives of the construction industry immediately engaged with the governor’s office, and a clarifying statement was put on the Governor’s COVID-19 website last night at 11:22 PM.

Industry partners report that conversations with the Governor’s administration confirm ALL construction is exempt in the Governor’s order.

However, our coalition has reports that some local jurisdictions have closed public counters. We are seeking a legal opinion that the Governor’s directive supersedes any order or directive from a County or Local Agency to ensure construction may proceed and is supported by necessary governmental functions (permitting, inspections, etc).

Proceeding forward, there are several key points to remember:

  • Controlling the spread of the Coronavirus is paramount, and that will ultimately be the Governor’s objective.
  • If construction work sites fail to observe recommended social distancing and provide adequate hand washing and hygienic services, the exemption for construction could be quickly rescinded or limited.
  • If you encounter any jurisdictional issues with local planning departments, inspection officials, etc., please report to PHCC of California at ContactUs@caphcc.org or (916) 925-7390.

Working with health and safety as the primary objective, our industry can continue to meet the objectives of our clients while providing for the economic well-being of our workers and the State of California.

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