HOLLAND — Construction companies will be able to resume work on May 7, after being one of the industries shut down for over a month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A communications director for the governor’s office, Zack Pohl, confirmed with The Sentinel that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to sign an executive order May 1 to open up the construction industry in Michigan. MIRS News first reported the upcoming reopening of construction.
“The reporting in MIRS is accurate,” Pohl said in a prepared statement. “No one should be surprised that the governor would open a lower risk field like she has said at previous press conferences.”
Some essential construction has still been able to take place since Whitmer issued the stay-home executive order March 23, but most projects have been put on hold.
GDK Construction in Holland was able to work on two essential jobs during the shutdown, said Doug DeKock, co-owner of GDK, but they were on a more limited scale due to COVID-19.
Construction companies had been really busy before the stay-home order, DeKock said.
“It just hurts, it just pushes everything back,” he said. “But I think everybody is anxious to get back to some kind of normal, but it won’t be normal; there will be some protocols in place. But it’s great to have the flexibility to be able to work again.”
Whitmer was interviewed Wednesday morning on the New York Times podcast, The Daily, and discussed the state of restrictions she has imposed in Michigan to stop the spread of the virus.
The next wave of reopening could be construction, Whitmer said on the podcast, which has now been confirmed.
“(Construction) is often in big spaces outdoors with PPE and protocols necessary that could lower risk, and one way we can mitigate the risks further is around protocols like face masks, or separators between workers that can’t be six feet apart.”
The governor said on the podcast that to determine what industries will be able to reopen next, they are looking at rolling averages in hospitalizations, ability to ramp up testing and tracing. Different sectors of the economy are assessed for risk of passing the disease, she said, such as does the work require multiple people using the same machinery and if work is done indoors or outdoors.
— Contact reporter Kate Carlson at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @SentinelKate and @BizHolland.