All construction projects suspended after discovery of COVID clusters in worker barracks

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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 Friday, September 11, 2020, until further directive from the DPHSS. Companies were given prior notice of the suspension.

On September 9, 2020, DPHSS identified a significant cluster of COVID-19 positive cases in a congregate setting, specifically barracks for a local construction company.

On September 11, 2020, additional COVID-19 cases were identified among employees of two other construction companies operating on island. Guam’s construction industry relies heavily on foreign labor and a significant portion of the construction workforce is housed in congregate settings. These companies have worksites throughout the island, including on military installations, Government of Guam projects, and local private sector projects.

The emergence of this cluster and the threat presented by the 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.

DPHSS will undertake a review of all operational plans and conduct site visits of congregate settings to ensure applicable DPHSS Guidance is complied with and to safeguard the health of the construction sector’s workforce. DPHSS recognizes that construction is a critical component of our island’s infrastructure and the suspension of construction activities is intended to be as limited in duration as possible. 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 quickly.

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 (GPD), Guam Fire Department (GFD), and other regulatory agencies of the Government of Guam, including the Department of Labor (GDOL).

(JIC Release No. 323)

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