March 20, 2020
The Honorable Brad Little
Governor, State of Idaho
Boise, ID 83720
RE: COVID‐19 and Idaho’s Construction Industry
Dear Governor Little,
On behalf of over 1,000 companies from across Idaho that are represented by our two organizations and the more than 50,000 Idahoans they employ, we write to thank you for your bold leadership in confronting the COVID‐19 health concern. Your recent executive orders and the proactive steps taken by your administration will certainly aid in “flattening the curve” of the infection.
Idaho’s construction industry is happy to have already been of assistance in this effort. Members of the Idaho Associated General Contractors (AGC) have partnered with the Idaho Division of Veteran Services to gather up all available N95 masks from construction sites statewide and donate them to the state’s veteran homes. Members of the Idaho Building Contractors Association (BCA) responded similarly when called upon by the Idaho Office of Emergency Management to donate N95 masks for use by first responders. In addition, both organizations have shared best practices and other COVID‐19 related materials amongst their members in an effort to ensure the safety of our valued and talented workforce.
As precautionary steps increase all across Idaho, we write to request that you and other decision makers provide clarification of any future action that specifically includes construction as an “essential” service and therefore exempt from any shelter‐in‐place directives or similar orders. We recommend including the following language or something similar in any such directive:
“For the purposes of this Order, individuals free from symptoms may leave their residence to provide any supplies or services or to perform any work necessary to the operations and maintenance of “Essential Infrastructure,” including, but not limited to all active construction sites, public works construction, construction of housing (in particular affordable housing or housing for individuals experiencing homelessness), hospitals and medical service buildings, education and education support facilities, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, roads and highways, public transportation, flood control, water conservation, solid waste collection and removal, internet and Telecommunications systems, and emergency repair construction, provided that carry out those duties is done in compliance with the social distancing requirements of this Order, to the extent possible.”
As state and local government agencies seek to implement their own continuation of operation plans, it may be necessary for building inspectors and other construction related professionals to also be exempt from shelter‐in‐place directives. In addition, we ask that all units of government continue their efforts to ensure that construction projects continue across Idaho. Doing so may require the use of electronic systems for permitting and plan review, creative approaches to inspections, and other innovation. We and our members stand ready to assist our state and local partners with this work.
Members of the Idaho AGC and Idaho BCA appreciate the gravity of the situation and understand the action required by you and other leaders necessary to keep every Idahoan safe. With the low risk nature of construction related to the virus and our industry’s heavy emphasis on worker safety, we urge you to recognize construction as an essential service that should be continued during this time in support of our state’s resiliency efforts.
Wayne L. Hammon Rose Almanza
Chief Executive Officer Idaho AGC Executive Officer, Idaho BCA
You may also view/download the pdf of this letter HERE.