What the Governor’s “Shelter in Place” Order means for Contractors

First of all, this virus is not a hoax and it is exponentially more destructive than the flu. COVID-19 is a never-before-seen, highly infectious virus that primarily attacks and destroys the respiratory system, leading to a mortality rate that – so far – is ten times that of regular seasonal flu, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.1.

Many people can become infected and not have symptoms, which is called being “asymptomatic,” but the virus they are carrying can still highly contagious to others. Ongoing studies are suggesting that those who are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms may be causing some of the infection spikes seen throughout the country, because when people believe that they have not been infected because they don’t have symptoms, they often continue in-person interactions, which spreads the virus.2. This is why increasingly more state and local governments are issuing orders for residents to “shelter in place” or basically stay home and not engage in any in-person interactions with others outside of their immediate “locked down” household members.

Because public works construction has been deemed essential, many contractors will be or already are back on job sites, where taking steps to slow the COVID-19’s spread is still vital. Guidelines have been changing rapidly as more about this new virus becomes known. Click here for current Cal/OSHA guidelines.

One key factor in how well the country recovers from this crisis will be how many people heed the safety guidelines until a vaccine is readily available to the general public.3. On a day-to-day level, by minimizing all person-to-person contact, washing hands, coughing or sneezing into one’s elbow to prevent airborne particles, and disinfecting commonly used surfaces and items, the spread of the virus may be slowed down enough to allow our medical facilities to treat those who are ill – when everyone gets sick all at once, our hospitals get overwhelmed.


  1. https://reason.com/2020/03/11/covid-19-mortality-rate-ten-times-worse-than-seasonal-flu-says-dr-anthony-fauci/; https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/11/top-federal-health-official-says-coronavirus-outbreak-is-going-to-get-worse-in-the-us.html
  2. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/6/20-0412_article; https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/covid-19-study-estimates-rate-of-silent-transmission; https://www.wionews.com/world/are-dormant-carriers-of-covid-19-the-primary-cause-of-spike-in-global-infections-286827
  3. https://www.news-medical.net/news/20200312/Flattening-the-curve-why-is-it-important-for-coronavirus.aspx; https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/covid-19-why-social-distancing-having-a-personal-plan-is-important/

Public Works Construction Deemed “Essential.”

The Associated General Contractors of California recently confirmed that CA Governor Gavin Newsom has clarified that many public works construction – including public housing, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and other necessary public infrastructure projects – are considered “essential” services and as such, will be allowed to resume pursuant to following COVID-19 safety guidelines. Because the COVID-19 safety guidelines are being updated as new scientific and public health information emerges, we will be providing updates on safety guidelines as they are released.  Click here for more information on the Governor’s statewide policy. 



COVID-19 Contractor Preliminary Best Practices Guidelines


Please note that these best practices are based on preliminary guidelines made available to the general public as of the release of this newsletter and are shared for information purposes only – contractors should visit OSHA, CDC and other official sources for the most up-to-date information. For convenience, we have included a number of links below to the most prominent COVID-19 workplace and disease prevention sources and encourage you to contact your local agency offices with specific questions.

  1. If you have reason to believe that you may have been exposed to COVID-19, or if you feel ill, please AVOID going out or going to work for at least 2 weeks to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.
  2. Create site-specific work plans to mitigate potential infection hazards by reducing contact with potentially contaminated surfaces and by staying at least 6 feet away from other workers and individuals. When you must be at a job site with other workers or in the same location as another person, practice social distancing and stay at least 6 feet away from each other.
  3. Avoid person-to-person interactions whenever possible. This means conducting as much of your business from home, over the phone and via the internet via email, webchat or video conferencing.
  4. Make sure that you and all workers have adequate access to disinfection and cleaning supplies and any recommended protective gear.
  5. Wash your hands frequently throughout the day. Wash your hands after touching any public or frequently-used surfaces or objects, after using the restroom, coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose. Wash them immediately before touching your face, mouth and before eating or preparing food. Wash them after contact with family members and pets. Soap and water work well, but be sure to adequately lather and wash for at least 20 seconds. If you use a hand sanitizer, make sure that it contains at least 60% to 70% isopropyl alcohol.
  6. Disinfect frequently-used objects (such as cell phones, laptops, tablets, light switches, car interiors, doorknobs, keys, etc.) and frequently-touched surfaces (countertops, tables, hand railings, tools, equipment, etc.). Use cleaners with at least 60% to 75% isopropyl alcohol OR prepare a bleach solution using 1/3 cup of bleach to every 1 gallon of water (4 teaspoons of bleach to every quart of water), or other EPA-approved disinfectant cleaning sprays that are expected to be effective against COVID-19, based on their effectiveness on similar viruses.
  7. Because the virus can remain viable on clothing and fabric, make sure to remove and launder any porous surfaces (including sheets, blankets, rugs, drapes, etc.) that may have become contaminated. Do not shake dirty laundry, as this can cause the virus to become airborne. Use the hottest water setting that the fabric manufacturer’s instructions will allow. Clean and disinfect your dirty clothes hamper and any surfaces that your dirty clothes come into contact with.
  8. At home, leave your outside shoes at your front step or just inside your entryway to avoid tracking germs throughout your house.
  9. Stay informed on updates to current safety recommendations because they are frequently being revised and expanded as more becomes known about this new virus.