Home Construction Deemed “Essential Service” in Local Stay Home Orders

Casey Morgan Covid-19

GHBA LOCAL GOVERNMENT ALERT: Update on “Stay Home” Orders

HARRIS COUNTY:
On March 24, Judge Hidalgo and Mayor Turner issued a “Stay Home Work Safe” order effective at 11:59 pm March 24, through April 3.

*Important for the homebuilding industry
The county has added construction of housing to the list of essential businesses providing essential infrastructure to this order. See page 6 in the order.

The order also references the federal critical infrastructure sectors as designated by the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and outlined here: cisa.gov/critical-infrastructure-sectors


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GALVESTON COUNTY:
On March 23, Galveston County issued a “Stay at Home” order effective tonight at 11:59 pm through April 3. On page 3 of the order, residential and commercial industries are considered as “essential critical infrastructure” along with the 16 CISA essential sectors.

FORT BEND COUNTY:
The Fort Bend County Stay Home Work Safe order is very similar to Harris and Galveston counties.  Language deeming residential construction an essential service is on page 4 of the order.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY:
At this time, Montgomery County has not issued a “Stay at Home” order. Judge Keough previously issued a statement that the current actions take by the County, including closing restaurant dining, gyms, clubs, etc. and asking residents to limit gatherings to 10 people or less is sufficient at this time. Should that change, we will keep you informed.

While we’re in uncharted territory, the GHBA and HBAs across the state are interpreting the essential services language to include anything incidental to and necessary for residential construction. All trades can continue working, as well as anything related to facilitating home sales transactions.

Enforcement & Exemption Letter for Trades

As this crisis persists, we may see the enforcement of the “stay home” orders increase and it may become necessary for our members to show or prove that they are allowed to work during this time. Please see this draft letter template for use by you, your company and trades that you do business with. 

Because our region covers multiple jurisdictions you may need to modify the letter to reflect the area where you are doing business. 

We know that these are difficult times and being able to continue your operations can help provide some degree of normalcy. It is important to remember that for the industry to continue working under these circumstances, it is critical to follow CDC guidelines, practice social distancing and minimize crew and staff to 10 people or less. osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf

For more visit ghba.org/covid19

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