Posted Friday, April 24, 2020 by Kim Sandher
Governor Inslee announced on April 24, 2020 that construction projects considered low-risk may resume if they do not require workers to be closer than six-feet and they can comply with the COVID-19 Safety Plan, which includes 30 minimum Phase 1 requirements found [here](https://assets.documentcloud.or g/documents/6876471/Phase-1- Construction-COVID-19-Safety- 04-14-2020.pdf):
When does this go into effect?
Previously authorized construction that was permitted to continue under the Stay Home, Stay Safe Order and subsequent guidance (for example construction of medical offices and grocery stores and construction needed to avoid damage and unsafe conditions) may continue operating, but has to comply with all Phase 1 requirements no later than May 1, 2020.
Newly authorized construction (which is construction activity in existence prior to the issuance of the Stay Home, Stay Healthy Order and was not authorized under the order) may begin immediately if an only if the work follows all Phase 1 requirements.
What work is not permitted?
Projects that were not existing construction projects or not previously authorized.
What if a worker has to break 6ft distancing requirements?
If six-foot distancing requirements cannot be met for a specific task or tasks, the contractor must create and implement a hazard control and safety plan with mandated Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Is landscape work allowed?
Certain landscape construction, which includes installation of greenery and hardscape is allowed. Landscaping connected to construction projects that may be necessary to complete current contracts is treated identically to structural projects.
Routine outdoor maintenance like mowing and weeding by professionals is not permitted. Outdoor maintenance by professionals is only permitted if it is needed to prevent damage or spoliation.
May office staff supporting a construction firm come back to the office?
Yes, but employees who can work remotely are encouraged to do so. The "High Risk Employees - Workers' Rights" order remains in effect and requires all employers to use all available options for alternative work assignments to protect high risk employees.
Although the state is still encouraging the majority of the population to stay home, existing construction faces challenges due to contractual obligations and spoliation. This phase is intended to be an interim step in reopening.
Given the rapidly changing announcements and orders regarding COVID-19, all information provided here may not be complete, useful, or accurate at the time of reading. If you have questions, please contact Kim Sandher at (206) 805-1490 or KSandher@PivotalLawGroup.com.