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Jax Daily Record Friday, Mar. 27, 202001:40 PM EST

NEFBA leader: COVID-19 safety noncompliance is ‘putting the entire industry at risk of being shut down’

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Bill Garrison emails members about best practices in the construction industry.
by: Scott Sailer Staff Writer

Northeast Florida Builders Association Executive Officer Bill Garrison sent a letter to its members March 27 about COVID-19.

Garrison wrote that people in the industry not complying with social distancing and preventing the spread of the virus “by continuing to ignore the warnings, are putting the entire industry at risk of being shut down.”

“Seattle shutdown all non-essential construction jobs for two weeks on Thursday, Mar. 26. It can happen here too. It has been discussed, but so far, we have been successful keeping our jobs open,” he wrote.

Here is Garrison's letter:

Dear NEFBA Members, and all other construction industry members,

What a wild and crazy week this has been! But we are still here and working to get homes and commercial buildings built, even if it is under a new set of circumstances. Americans are strong, resilient, and driven. From the very beginning of our nation each generation has had to overcome some existential crisis, and we have come through them all. We will come through this one too, and be better for it.

The entire country is being impacted by a dangerous and highly contagious virus. In order to minimize the negative effect this global pandemic will have on our economy, it is urgent and of the highest importance that we all take seriously the obligation to prevent the spread of the virus. The best way to do that is through social distancing, and vigilant personal hygiene. Stay away from other people, as much as possible, and wash your hands many times during the day. Keep 6’-8’ away from other people, sanitize surfaces often, seek medical attention if you have symptoms, and take this virus seriously. It is spreading rapidly and can be fatal.

Most people are following these guidelines, but unfortunately some people are not. Industry leaders at the local, state, and national level are working hard every hour to keep building departments and jobsites open. But those people who are choosing not to comply with social distancing and preventing spread of the virus by continuing to ignore the warnings, are putting the entire industry at risk of being shut down. Seattle shutdown all non-essential construction jobs for two weeks on Thursday, Mar. 26. It can happen here too. It has been discussed, but so far, we have been successful keeping our jobs open.

Please, please, PLEASE – take social distancing and jobsite hygiene seriously. We have published a jobsite safety flyer, and we will continue to make other announcements about COVID-19 jobsite best practices. The flyer can be found at  https://secure.nefba.com/covid-19-updates/ under the HR Resources tab, (and attached to this email) along with other announcements about procedural changes at the regional building departments. Those best practices are also included in this email.

In addition to those recommendations, virtual meetings and sales appointments are another excellent way to work around the need to meet face-to-face. We are using them daily at NEFBA, and will continue to expand their use for our council and committee meetings.

Thank you for being a member of the Northeast Florida Builders Association, the Florida Home Builders Association, and the National Association of Home Builders. Your dues support the work we do year-round, and are especially important now that other sources of revenue are eliminated because of the virus. If you need any help maintaining your membership with NEFBA (which includes membership in FHBA and NAHB), please let us know. We know these are difficult times, and we will make sure we get through this together.”

Garrison signed it with “please be safe.”

Here are tips included in Garrison's letter:

 

 

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