Most construction to remain essential in Illinois

Most construction to remain essential in Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker says that Illinois is unlikely to follow New York’s lead in restricting the classification of most construction work as “essential”. However, the social distancing among workers must be maintained and it is a concern if they don’t, says Pritzker. Pritzker was quoted as saying by Block Club Chicago, “Anybody that is concerned about that certainly should be reporting to the Department of Public Health or letting my administration know.”

Pritzker added, “Much of what is being done is essential work … and we don’t want anybody to be at risk, but we also want to make sure we’re continuing the necessary work across the state.” Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, New York had originally allowed a wide range of construction work to continue. However, there was an outcry from the workers and a few of them had contracted the virus.

The state government had taken notice of the outcries and last week changed the construction rules. They had restricted construction work to a narrowly defined group of emergency categories such as infrastructure, hospitals, and affordable housing. A spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Buildings, Mimi Simon said that the city’s COVID-19 guidelines should be abided by the construction companies.

Construction business is majorly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Encompass Audio Visual is also among the affected companies as president Tim Pickett said his company has already lost 70 percent of its business.  During a virtual panel, the Elk Gove Village subcontractor said that subcontractors typically pay for their materials upfront and receive payment 60 to 90 days after a project is completed.

Pickett said that subcontractors will burn through the money within a couple of months if job sites are closed and they will struggle to pay for materials when work is allowed to resume. “Cash flow is our number one concern maintaining employee security, making sure they feel secure and have jobs. … These are some of the challenges we’re facing.”

Senior writer at the Chicago Morning Star

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