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Shelter in Place

Did we ever think we would be living through a shelter-in-place? If you’re like me and many others, this has been quite an adjustment. I live in Northern California, and I believe we were the first to receive the order to shelter in place on March 16. We initially had six counties ordered to shelter in place before the entire state went under these orders. As I write this in mid-April, I can say we believe it was the correct move for California; the number of cases has started to stabilize relevant to what was predicted.


It’s been a challenge in many ways to run my company remotely, and I am sure for many of you, we share the same challenges. We scrambled to get the entire staff up and running from their place of residence. Fortunately we had just updated the server and were able to handle the internet traffic of 25 people now remotely accessing our files.


It’s been a daily challenge with projects that are deemed essential and nonessential. We have had projects close and reopen and close again. Sound familiar? We are making adjustments, and we are all trying very hard to adapt.


Another challenge: N95 masks. We are unable to get the N95 masks right now in California, so people here are making masks out of fabric. We have ordered more masks, but the vendors are saying it will be four to five weeks before they are delivered. All medical facilities are asking everyone to donate whatever stockpile they have, and many have done this. But those working on essential job sites are running low on PPE supplies.


AWCI’s COVID-19 Resource Center, a new addition to AWCI’s website, was created in March to help our membership stay up-to-date with the most current information regarding the virus and its effect on the business of construction. Links to suppliers of N95 masks are near the top of the listed resources. The page also includes information regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act along with a free download of a customizable response plan available in English and Spanish, and an educational video on fighting the virus in the field. Links to AWCI webinars on the legal ramifications of COVID-19 and contractors’ responses are included, as is a link to receive more information about AWCI CARES, which may be needed now more than ever.


Sources in AWCI’s COVID-19 Resource Center include trusted industry organizations, government agencies and allied partners like the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, ConsensusDocs and the Center for Construction Research and Training. Please visit this page on a daily basis for the latest information. And read the article on page 24 to learn much more about AWCI’s COVID-19 Resource Center and other available resources.


To sum it up, I believe most all people are really trying to adhere to the president’s guidelines to shelter-in-place orders in an attempt to mitigate the human loss occurring due to this very serious virus.


Stay safe and well, as this too shall pass.

In addition to being 2019–2020 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Nancy Brinkerhoff is CEO and president of Ironwood Commercial Builders in Northern California.


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