Senator Ward Supports Waivers to Reopen PA’s Construction Industry

HARRISBURG – Senator Judy Ward (R-30) is supporting legislation that would allow construction activities to resume in Pennsylvania if businesses take appropriate mitigation steps to prevent exposure to COVID-19.

The legislation supported by Ward would require the Department of Community and Economic Development to issue waivers for public and private construction activities that adhere to social distancing practices and other mitigation measures recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The governor’s business closure order has idled thousands of construction workers and adversely impacted the well-being of their families. In fact, Pennsylvania is the only state to shut down all active public and private construction sites as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. While New Jersey, California, Illinois, New York and Maryland have issued shelter-in-place orders, those states provide exemptions for construction personnel and construction activities.

Unfinished construction projects create public health and safety hazards that will increase as the sites are exposed to the elements while also compromising the integrity of building materials and adding additional financial costs to all parties involved.

Senator Ward said “the closure order has put a large population of our workers out of work who could be working as long as they are able to comply with social distancing and CDC recommendations.  We need to help our economy and get these essential workers back to work.”

Senate Republican leaders also sent a letter to Governor Wolf yesterday encouraging him to allow residential construction activities to resume. The letter is attached.

Contact:  Cheryl Schriner

cschriner@pasen.gov