The governor will sign an executive order Friday loosening her stay-at-home order for the construction industry, Whitmer spokesman Zack Pohl confirmed Wednesday.
The news of the May 7 restart was first reported Tuesday night by the Lansing newsletter MIRSnews.com.
“We are excited to see that she is considering reopening construction and hopefully it’s across the entire state when it happens,” said Ron Staley, senior vice president of Southeast Michigan operations in the Detroit office of Lansing-based general contractor The Christman Co.
Staley said his company, which has its Detroit office in the Fisher Building in the New Center area, has been planning a return to work for the last several weeks and matching its protocols with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“The sites all pretty much require different separation and access for workers coming and going, whether it’s new construction or a renovation project, and those are the details that each person on our team are reviewing right now with all the subcontractors on those projects,” Staley told Crain’s. “It’s a complex startup process. It’ll start out a little bit slow, but hopefully we can get everybody up and working pretty quick.”
The reopening of construction work sites is welcomed news for Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, a trade group representing about 1,000 companies in the residential and commercial construction business.
“We’ve been ready to get back to work for some time now,” said Jeff Wiggins, state director of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan.
The Construction Industrial Safety Coalition, a national coalition of 25 construction associations, has created a best practices guide that ABC’s members plan to use to increase sanitation and safety on work sites, Wiggins said.
For example, Wiggins said, the sharing of tools will be eliminated or minimized to prevent spread of COVID-19.
“If you are going to do it, obviously sterilization is key,” he said.
Construction and outdoor jobs were identified by the Michigan Economic Recovery Council — a group of business, labor and health care executives advising Whitmer— as lower risk compared to service industry jobs where workers directly interact in close proximity to customers.
Ryan Maibach, president and CEO of the Southfield-based construction giant Barton Malow, served on the advisory group co-chaired by DTE Energy Co. Executive Chairman Gerry Anderson and Nancy Schlichting, the former CEO of Henry Ford Health System.
“We’ve been working with everyone from home builders to contractors to road building to put best practices in place that ensure worker safety,” Maibach told MIRS. “We’re looking forward to getting back to work and building a better Michigan.”