Construction deemed ‘unessential’ under Wash. stay-home order, though there are exceptions


OLYMPIA, Wash. — In a guidance memo issued Wednesday, Governor Jay Inslee clarified that commercial and residential construction are not authorized under Washington’s stay home order, though there are some exceptions in place.

Construction should be halted while the stay home order is in place, unless it falls under the following circumstances:

  1. Construction related to essential activities as described in the order;
  2. To further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-incoming housing; or
  3. To prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses and residential structures.

“To that end, it is permissible for workers who are building, construction superintendents, tradesmen, or tradeswomen, or other trades including, but not limited to, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, laborers, sheet metal, iron workers, masonry, pipe trades, fabricators, heavy equipment and crane operators, finishers, exterminators, pesticide applicators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC technicians, painting, moving and relocation services, forestry and arborists, and other services to provide services consistent with this guidance,” the memo states.

All permissible construction activity must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding.