Jeff Southard and I just completed our Wednesday COVID-19 Update conference call with Commissioner Brich and his Senior staff. The good news is that there is no change in the status or our effort to keep projects working. Some additional good news is that yesterday’s advertisement went out as scheduled and today’s bid letting was held as scheduled. VDOT and our industry continue to navigate these difficult and quickly changing times and have so far avoided the fate of many other businesses closed by the threat of COVID-19.
Unfortunately, we have begun to receive reports from contractors and consultants that some employees working on projects are being tested positive for COVID-19. With the large number of employees in our industry we should realistically expect to have some infected with the virus. It is a blunt reminder we are not immune and cannot let our guard down.
Our industry is fortunate to have been identified as an essential function by Governor Northam. But that designation is very delicate and being continuously evaluated. We do not have control over every factor that could threaten our exempt status, but we do owe it to ourselves, our employees, our companies and the rest of the industry to implement what we can control. Many of you have implemented safe business practices throughout your companies. It is in everyone’s best interest to continuously remind your employees of those practices and how much their action means to their own health, their coworkers, their families and the continued opportunity to earn a paycheck.
Listed at the end of this message are some resources that may prove to be useful in reviewing or updating your current strategy to protect your workers on project sites.
Shutdown plans? Some of you have let us know that you have heard from VDOT project staff and some localities regarding shutdown plans. Please note that this is not a reaction to any change or imminent change in the status of VDOT projects. The Department has not issued a directive “requiring” shutdown plans to be submitted. However, it is good business practice to be prepared and hold “discussions” between your field staff and VDOT identifying actions needed to quickly and safely shut down a project for an indefinite period. If you are being directed to provide a written shutdown plan by VDOT staff please notify me or Jeff Southard.