Construction worker installs siding to a building in Snoqualmie. File photo

Construction worker installs siding to a building in Snoqualmie. File photo

Inslee gives construction a green light

It was unclear when sites would re-open, but employees will have to have PPE and stay six feet apart.

Construction projects can now resume if supervisors can show the state that they’re following new safety guidelines amid COVID-19, Gov. Jay Inslee announced at a news conference April 24.

It remained unclear how many people will get back to work in the coming days, but work may restart before the expiration of the governor’s current stay-home order on May 4.

The governor and industry representatives outlined a plan to get crews back to work on “low-risk” projects that were under way when he renewed the order last month. Not all work will be permitted. Tasks on construction sites must allow for social distancing, and employers must provide protective equipment, set up plans to mitigate possible outbreaks and meet other safety requirements.

“I would not support any plan that would not protect the people who are providing us our shelter,” Inslee said.

The effort to get construction sites up and running comes after discussions with six heads of building and development associations, unions and other groups. Those discussions proved “hard-working people of good faith can reach agreements,” Inslee said. The process will likely be repeated with other industries in the future, but it’s still too early to say when that will be, he added.

“The day of reopening our economy is not today, it would be way too dangerous,” he said.

On April 14, developers, contractors and construction workers sent Inslee a letter detailing steps they could take to safely resume work, most of which are mirrored in the governor’s plan.

“The governor has given us the opportunity to have a great effect in our industry — he’s put it back in our hands,” Mark Riker, executive secretary of the Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, said at Friday’s news conference. “It’s our job to do it right. If we do it right, we’ll move to the next step. If we do it wrong, we will be shutting ourselves back down. It won’t be his fault, it will be ours.”

Earlier this week, the governor mapped out some steps for the state to slowly dial back the stay-home order, with the resumption of some elective surgeries, residential construction, and hunting and fishing being the first.

Inslee said he hopes to make sure nurses and medical staff have enough personal protective equipment for elective surgeries. An update on hunting and fishing will be coming in the next few days, he said.

Statewide, there have been 12,753 confirmed COVID-19 cases and at least 711 deaths, according to the state Department of Health.

“Each one of those losses is not a number, it is not a statistic, it is a tragedy in our families,” Inslee said. “We know that the ‘Stay Home, Stay Healthy’ order is working, but we know that it has to continue to avoid a dire fate. And we know that much work remains to be done to control this virus.”

The governor’s announcement caps a week that started with 2,500 people gathering at the Capitol in Olympia to protest his stay-home order and criticism from some state lawmakers and Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney, who called the order unconstitutional.

State law gives the governor wide authority during declared emergencies, including the prohibition of public and private gatherings, imposition of curfews, the closure of stores and restriction of access to streets, roads and highways, some of which Inslee has done.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

The memorial service for Bothell police officer Jonathan Shoop on Tuesday.
Memorial honors fallen Bothell police officer Jonathan Shoop

After a motorcade through the city, the rookie cop’s two brothers spoke at a service Tuesday in Bothell.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Inslee warns of stay home order as COVID cases rise

The governor urges young people, who are not getting infected the most, to curb their social habits.

Pandemic is spiking in South King County, governor says

Gov. Jay Inslee met with elected officials, health officials and business partners in Federal Way to hear concerns, suggestions about state’s response to COVID-19.

Sound Transit breaks ground on Federal Way Link Extension

The $3.1 billion project includes three new stations near Kent/Des Moines, South 272nd Street and the Federal Way Transit Center.