Workers in Quebec’s residential construction industry are back on the job after being forced to shut down last month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Monday, labourers and contractors were allowed to return to their residential job sites for the first time the Legault government issued the three-week shutdown of all non-essential services in Quebec on March 24.
The reinstatement applies for work sites for residential construction units that were expected to be ready by July 31.
It is estimated that between 20,000 and 25,000 residential housing and condo units need to be completed by that date.
Workers will be stepping into a new work environment. Going forward they have to follow new strict safety guidelines.
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All work on residential construction sites will be regulated by a guide produced by Quebec’s work health safety board in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that includes mandating physical distancing and disinfecting tools that might be shared.
“We have to reorganize the way we work to respect the two-metre distance,” Quebec Construction Association Spokesperson Guillaume Houle said.
Workers who physically cannot follow the new distancing procedure will have to wear a face mask, glasses and gloves.
All workers will be asked to follow frequent handwashing directives.
Vehicles will not be allowed to have more than half of their seating capacity occupied.
Houle says job sites will also have to be rearranged so as to keep work safe.
The new perimeters will mean fewer contractors will be allowed on worksites at the same time.
“If you are on a site and you have 10 different jobs, now you will have to reorganize to have one or two at a time,” Houle said.
“We already have delays, that is for sure. We have been stopped for one month now,” Houle said.
Workers are scrambling to make up for lost time as they face the clock.
According to the Quebec Construction Association, contractors have secured emergency hotels to house new homeowners should they fail to meet the July 31 deadline.
With files from Canadian Press
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