Potential Business Closures: What to Consider

March 19, 2020
By Chuck White, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs

COVID-19: Six months ago, those words meant nearly nothing to the average person, but today it would be hard for anyone in the U.S. to not know what the virus is. The ever-evolving response to Coronavirus has had different effects across the country; unfortunately, some contractors are already faced with shutting down their operations because of “shelter-in-place” orders, as well as other directives and situations in their areas. Should business closures spread more widely, contractors should consider if the following steps are applicable:

Prior to a Potential Shutdown:

  • Establish a health safety plan for the business; let your employees and clients know what precautions are in place to protect them
  • Require those who are sick to stay home
  • Require appropriate use of PPE
  • Develop and implement training for workers to emphasize best practices to maintain a healthy workplace including proper use of PPE
  • Encourage frequent hand washing or the use of hand sanitizer with a minimum 60% alcohol content
  • Practice good housekeeping and cleaning; tips for cleaning and sanitizing are available from the CDC Housekeeping Guidance
  • Communicate the status of your business operations with staff and customers
  • Determine what projects constitute “essential services” and may be exempt from shutdown (there may be a construction exemption)

After a Business Closure:

  • For new construction,
    • Communicate with project owners or their representatives as to the owner’s plans and their expectation of work progress
    • Review any contractual obligations related to current project commitments
    • Identify a key individual as the contact person to communicate and implement actions on project sites
  • Prepare and plan for securing and/or removing valuable tools, equipment, and materials from your building and jobsites
  • Communicate the work plan continuation or stoppage with the supply chain of vendors and sub-contractors; this will depend on the essential nature of the project
  • Keep your employees updated of status of operations; let field employees know approximately when they will be called back to work or if they should apply for unemployment
  • Alert employees of any options for short-term loans and assistance, as available
  • Monitor local conditions, information from the CDC, OSHA Guidance, and other sources of information related to this rapidly evolving health crisis.

Above all else, try to be calm and maintain a sense of order for the others in the workplace.

Vice President of Regulatory Affairs
, PHCC-National Association
Charles “Chuck” R. White serves as Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for PHCC—National Association. White works closely with government regulatory bodies, such as the DOE, and serves on a number of councils and coalitions including NSPC, PERC, ABPA and IAPMO as a representative of PHCC’s contractors.

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