As you may have already known, Hillsborough County has issued a safer-at-home order. This is the first official instruction given by Hilsborough’s Emergency Policy Group to limit the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The order goes into effect today, March 27, 2020, at 10 p.m. and applies to all residents of Hillsborough County, including residents of Tampa Bay. This order is set to have a tremendous impact on the community and the businesses within it.
Below, we outline what contractors need to know about the order and whether or not construction is considered an essential service. As Pinellas, Broward, Miami-Dade, and other counties across the state enact similar orders, Florida contractors will continue to have pressing questions regarding their businesses and operations. For the answers to all of your questions, consult the Tampa construction attorneys from Cotney Construction Law.
Despite the potential for a curfew in the future, the current order does not enact a curfew. The order is in effect 24 hours a day. This order is in effect until removed by the Emergency Policy Group and must be renewed every seven days. It’s imperative that you stay informed, as the situation is constantly developing and the order may become stricter in the future.
Is Construction an Essential Service?
Your most pressing question is most likely whether or not you can remain in business. The answer appears to be yes. Although the Order delineates essential businesses from non-essential businesses, for the time being, it appears to allow the continued operation of both as long as the physical distancing requirement of six feet is maintained at all times. However, non-essential businesses that cannot adhere to the distancing requirement must close. Further, “Construction” is specifically enumerated as an “essential” business within the safer-at-home order.
“Contractors, utility workers and other tradesmen … and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other structures.” The order also states that “individuals may leave their residence to provide any services or perform any work necessary to offer, provision, operate, maintain and repair Essential Infrastructure.” Consult a Tampa construction lawyer for help determining if your business is working on essential infrastructure.
If You Ever Need Assistance
As reported by 10News WTSP, “Under the order, businesses that are considered essential must be able to operate under the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, keeping employees and customers six feet away from each other. If they can’t do that, they must shut down.” Although your construction business is likely considered essential, you must still do all you can to protect your workers and abide by the safer-at-home order. That’s where we come in. Cotney Construction Law is offering an invaluable COVID-19 Protection Kit for employers. We are also offering a number of our most requested services for an affordable, monthly fee.
We hope this article has answered many of your questions regarding the new safer-at-home order. As this situation develops, you will likely have many more questions regarding COVID-19 legislation, worker safety, and construction contracts, among other pressing topics. For answers to all of your construction-related legal questions, turn to the Tampa construction attorneys from Cotney Construction Law.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.