Counties, unions urge governor to lift coronavirus construction ban

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A growing number of contractors, unions and Pennsylvania county government officials are pleading Gov. Tom Wolf to lift his ban on construction activity because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Among those leading the campaign is Berks County Commissioner chairman Christian Leinbach.

“I saw a letter from Johnny Dougherty, IBEW out of Philadelphia, saying, ‘Hey, we need to get our members back to work.’ And, I agree with that very much,” said Leinbach. “The construction industry and the trades people that serve that industry are really foundational to our economy.”

Leinbach, who leads the COVID-19 task force for Berks County, also sent a letter to Wolf.

“The tone of the letter is positive,” he noted. “We don’t take any opportunity to take any shots at the governor.”

He said construction workers know how to take care of themselves on a job site amid a health crisis, and he believes they can continue to do it safely.

“They have very clear guidelines relative to operating within the COVID-19 health crisis that we’re in,” he said. “And, anyone that’s worked in the construction industry — you have a 50,000-square-foot building that’s being built, and you have 15 to 20 construction workers. They’re not all shoulder-to-shoulder in the corner working. They’re spread out over the job site.”

Leinbach is cautiously optimistic that Wolf will give a fair hearing to the growing chorus of those asking him to rescind his suspension order.

Construction is considered a “non-life-sustaining business” under Wolf’s coronavirus closures. The full list is outlined below:


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