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Washington's "Stay Home, Stay Healthy" Proclamation Lacks Guidance On Construction Projects



Yesterday at 5:30 pm, Governor Inslee issued his “Stay at Home, Stay Healthy” proclamation. The proclamation (much of which takes effect immediately, but which goes into full effect at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, March 25) requires generally that:

  • Every Washingtonian stay at home unless they need to pursue an essential activity.
  • All gatherings for social, spiritual and recreational purposes are prohibited.
  • All businesses except essential businesses must close, unless their business can be conducted remotely.

At the same time, the Governor’s office also issued guidance on “essential workers” and “essential businesses” who are exempt from this edict. The current guidance only exempts construction workers who are working on projects in areas otherwise deemed “essential infrastructure” (such as healthcare, utility and communications projects) and emergency repairs to residences. But the proclamation also exempts “workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of construction sites and construction projects . . ..”. A number of industry groups (including the Associated General Contractors of Washington) are seeking further guidance as to the scope of this proclamation, given the ambiguity of the quoted clause. If your project does not fit into one of the designated essential critical sectors, proceed cautiously as this proclamation may halt your project. We will post more information once it is available.

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