March 23, 2020
TO: Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers
Assembly Speaker Robin Vos
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald
FR: Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin
Wisconsin Builders Association
Wisconsin Geothermal Association
Wisconsin Water Well Association
Plumbing Heating Cooling Contractors Association
Wisconsin Roofing Contractors Association
Commercial Real Estate Development Association Wisconsin Chapter
Commercial Association of Realtors – Wisconsin
Wisconsin Pump & Well Suppliers
VJS Construction Services
RE: The essential nature of construction in Wisconsin
It is impossible to overstate the profound effect that COVID-19 has on us all. With this comes uncertainty among many industries. We represent thousands of hard-working Wisconsinites that are literally building Wisconsin and understand the importance of balancing public health with the need to finish critical infrastructure projects.
As a result, we respectfully request that construction projects, including commercial, residential, public works, and remodeling, be considered an essential service, and personnel that work and support construction activities be protected from any blanket shutdown, “shelter at home,” or other workforce limitation. This includes the installation and maintenance of HVAC, plumbing, and refrigeration equipment that is vital to health and safety.
There are communicable disease risks in every industry, but construction sites are unique workplaces with built in “social distancing.” Construction sites are also tightly controlled with required safety protocols and separation from the general public. Most recently, contractors and the union trades, with the help of state and local officials, have been taking additional safety precautions to secure and strengthen construction sites from COVID-19, and will continue to do so as the situation develops.
This request is not made casually and is not solely driven by the loss of income to the more than 150,000 working and paying taxes in Wisconsin’s construction industry. It is also made to avoid additional hazards and disruption to our neighbors already impacted by this public health emergency. Already, New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo deemed construction as an essential service, along with other key industries. We are hopeful, Wisconsin will follow the lead.
Thank you for your leadership and your willingness to work together to accomplish this goal.