This article appeared in ASA's monthly e-magazine, The Contractors Compass.
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Construction has always been more unpredictable and perilous than many industries, making agility a basic necessity for contractors and their teams. The COVID-19 pandemic has tested that agility like never before.
Decisions on whether construction work could or should continue during the pandemic have varied by city and state. The interpretation of mandates can depend on the day and person you ask. Relatively early during the coronavirus shutdown, Boston ordered most construction work to stop. New York initially deemed construction essential and then ordered a halt to most work, instituting fines up to $10,000 for those found working on nonessential or non-emergency construction. The city of Austin required all nonessential construction to pause in March, but then in early April, the Texas governor issued an executive order allowing construction across the state to continue. Even where construction was allowed, contractors faced labor shortages as workers had to choose between a paycheck and risks to their personal health.
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