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New Construction Guidelines During COVID-19

New Construction Guidelines During COVID-19 Response
Posted on 03/26/2020
On March 23, 2020, in response to the ongoing public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued Proclamation 20-25, “Stay Home – Stay Healthy,” imposing significant restrictions on all non-essential gatherings and business activities, along with an accompanying list identifying Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers (“ECIW”), detailing those activities that may continue while the Proclamation is in place. The order is in effect now and will expire at midnight on April 6, 2020, unless extended by the Governor. On March 25, 2020, the Governor issued a memo clarifying the application of the order to construction activities, stating that, “in general, commercial and residential construction is not authorized” under the order because “construction is not considered to be an essential activity.” The order identifies several exceptions to the general prohibition on construction activities: 

Construction supporting essential activities identified on the ECIW; 
Construction of critical or strategic public infrastructure; and 
For non-essential businesses and residences, construction necessary to effectuate emergency repairs or to ensure structural integrity and prevent spoliation, damage or unsafe conditions. 

Those contemplating construction activities while the order is in place should consider whether the work falls within one of the identified exceptions, and if it does not, suspend or delay the work. Any work performed must be compliant with social distancing and sanitation requirements. 

The City of Woodinville has a limited role in enforcing the order, as the Governor’s expectation is of voluntary compliance in the interest of public and worker health. The City will continue to process construction permit applications, prioritizing those clearly within one of the exceptions to the order, and will work with applicants to determine whether permits will be issued or held until construction of the contemplated improvements is allowed by the Governor. The City will continue inspections only on projects that are within one of the exceptions to the order, and project agents may be asked to explain which provisions of the Governor’s order and the ECIW allow continued construction. Inspections will not be conducted for work outside of the exceptions or when inspections cannot be performed safely and in compliance with social distancing and sanitation requirements.