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Workers at Risk As Builders Struggle to Enforce Social Distancing Protocol

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Workers at Risk As Builders Struggle to Enforce Social Distancing Protocol


April 24, 2020
black and white sign on brick wall says wash hands, clean surfaces, and practice social distancing
By ronniechua

Now that home building is essential and many builders can continue their projects, those who choose to stay open for business are facing a new battle: keeping their workers healthy and safe. Though project managers post social distancing and safety guidelines, many are finding that their teams are not taking the virus seriously, according to builders in Texas. Some workers feel that they have faced worse in their life and need to make money. But maintaining social distancing and only allowing a limited number of workers on site is crucial to making sure a company can continue building. The pace may be slow if all safety standards are in place, but the alternative of a sick team could halt a project for much longer. 

By the time Adam Lucas walked inside the spacious, upscale home overlooking Lake Austin on a chilly morning last week, a newly begun remodeling process was in full swing. It was clear to Lucas, the owner of a successful green building company, that the subcontractors he had hired to rip out drywall and pull wiring out of the ten-foot ceiling were making good progress.

Normally Lucas, who was dropping by to see how much progress his team had made, would’ve been pleased. But on this morning, as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Texas was nearing 14,000, the 37-year-old business owner’s keen attention to detail had zeroed in on something else: of the ten workers at the busy construction site, only one, a foreman in his fifties, was covering his face with a protective mask. Making matters worse, none of the men moving casually around the work site appeared to be practicing anything approaching CDC-standard social distancing, which the state requires of businesses that continue to operate.

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