As most readers are likely aware, Governor Inslee issued a “Stay Home-Stay Safe” Order last night that has led to numerous questions regarding what construction projects are exempted and who falls in the category of “WA Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” in the attached Proclamation.
Our goal is to keep our clients informed of our view of the Order and we will do so here, with regular updates. The Governor’s Medium page states that the Order is similar to orders issued in CA and NY, both of which have allowed construction projects to proceed—though NY under reduction in force.
The language of Governor Inslee’s Order is narrower than, for example, California’s order. As it relates to construction projects, the two key bullets are on page 11 of the attached, including the following as “Essential Workforce” that are exempted:
The Governor’s Order is unclear whether construction projects can continue with workers necessary to maintain the essential operation of construction sites and construction projects, based on language in the third bullet on Page 11: It defines as essential “Workers such as….who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the…essential operation of construction sites and construction projects….” The subsequent parenthetical is non-restrictive. An article in the Seattle Times has further confused exempt from non-exempt construction operations.
However, a more restrictive reading of the Order is that it exempts only critical infrastructure projects such as infrastructure, transportation, healthcare, marine-related transportation projects. We are aware that DES is seeking clarification on whether educational projects are exempt. In addition, industry trade groups, including AGC, ABC and NECA, among others, are seeking clarification of the Order today.
At this time, all projects can proceed until midnight on Wednesday March 25. We are in Contact with industry groups seeking clarification of the Order, and we will post updated information on this blog as it is received. Our lawyers remain ready to immediately assist all clients with questions regarding this Order and can assist our clients with their important projects. Please call or email the lawyers at ACS and we remain here for you.