Thursday, April 23, 2020

NJ Lawmakers: Let Small Contractors Work Now!

New Jersey State Senator Declan O’Scanlon, Assemblywoman Serena DiMaso, and Assemblyman Gerry Scharfenberger (Monmouth – R’s) call on Governor Murphy to afford small business contractors and construction workers the ability to continue operating if they so choose, while adhering to CDC, N.J. Department of Health, and Social Distancing Guidelines.
Sen. O’Scanlon, Asw. DiMaso and Asm. Scharfenberger are urging the Governor to allow small contractors and construction workers to go back to work on jobs that are conducive to adequate coronavirus precautions.  (©iStock)
“Look, the majority of residents understand the health risks facing New Jersey as well as the entire country and certain measures are necessary to ensure their overall safety – we are not debating that,” said O’Scanlon. “But we have to safeguard against crushing our local guys under these constraints. The Governor’s executive order to limit construction – as well intended as it may be – could have serious implications for our workers who are relying on these jobs to put food on their tables. If they feel they can get a job done without increased risk, the State should be letting them. Instead of an executive order with a list of exemptions, maybe there should have been a set of operating protocols handed down which would have gone a long way to clear-up the confusion happening now.”

“We are coming into the prime season for many contractors, especially the smaller operators who overwhelmingly rely on this time of year to recover from natural downturns during the winter months,” said DiMaso. “Without question we want to ensure their well-being and that of our residents, but we believe many of our local contractors can operate safely within appropriate social distancing restrictions if they so choose. However, no one should feel forced into a situation where their livelihoods are threatened if they believe their health is at risk from working on a site. There is no question that individuals should be afforded that option to choose without fear of repercussion or reprisal.”

“The backbone of New Jersey, for that matter our nation, are our construction workers and laborers,” says Scharfenberger. “These men and women have heavily stressful and labor-intensive jobs on a good day ensuring our roads, homes, and infrastructure are maintained. The idea that many of them now face undue hardships because of Trenton’s actions is unfathomable. New Jersyans have been tremendously cooperative, adhering to CDC guidelines and we’ve started to see the impact of that even before this executive order was implemented. The choice should be left up to individual contractors and their employees as to whether they feel their work can continue safely.”

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