DPHSS issues directive suspending all construction projects

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All construction projects are suspended starting the close of business Saturday, November 14, 2020, until further directive from the DPHSS. (File photo)

The Department of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS) has issued a directive relative to the suspension of all construction projects at close of business on Saturday, November 14, 2020, until further directive from the DPHSS.

On November 5, 2020, the DPHSS identified a significant cluster of COVID-19 positive cases among the employees of a local construction company. On November 9, 2020, additional COVID-19 cases were identified among employees of another local construction company.

Guam’s construction industry relies heavily on foreign labor and a significant portion of the construction workforce is housed in temporary workforce housing. These companies have worksites throughout the island, including on military installations, Government of Guam projects, and local private sector projects. Several construction companies work together on projects.

The emergence of this cluster and the threat presented by the substantial additional cases pose a significant danger to the public health of the construction workforce, industries associated with these projects, and the larger community. Immediate action is necessary to protect against further spread.

The directive orders that all construction projects shall suspend operations at close of business on Saturday, November 14, 2020, until further directive from the DPHSS.

Application of this directive to military-affiliated construction activities shall be coordinated between DPHSS and Department of Defense public health authorities. Affected businesses will be contacted directly by DPHSS and/or Department of Defense public health authorities.

DPHSS will undertake a review of all operational plans and conduct site visits of temporary workforce housings to ensure applicable DPHSS guidance memoranda are complied with and to safeguard the health of the construction sector’s workforce.

DPHSS recognizes that construction is an important component of our island’s infrastructure and the suspension of construction activities is intended to be as limited in duration as possible.

To this end, all affected companies are advised that cooperation with DPHSS in this mandatory review and inspection process will permit the process to move expeditiously so that affected activities can resume as soon as possible.

Businesses that refuse to comply with this directive may be subject to fines and/or the termination of business licenses, as well as any other penalties as may be available under Guam law.

DPHSS shall enforce this directive with the assistance of the Guam Police Department, the Guam Fire Department, and other regulatory agencies of the Government of Guam, including the Department of Labor.

Because of the significance of the identified spread thus far, employees of all businesses affected by this directive are instructed to quarantine themselves at their places of residence for the duration of this suspension period.

Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, HVAC technicians, landscapers, and other service providers, may continue to operate for the limited purpose of providing services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and operation of residences and authorized businesses.

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit dphss.guam.gov or guamrecovery.com. For inquiries on COVID-19, contact 311 through a local number, or call the Joint Information Center at (671) 478-0208/09/10.

(JIC Release No. 444)

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