Builders, contractors, seeking exemption from Wolf’s closure order

This photo from last summer 2019 shows construction from outside Five City Center in downtown Allentown. (PHOTO/BRIAN PEDERSEN) –

In a letter to Gov. Tom Wolf, officials from the five chapters that make up the Associated Builders and Contractors of Pennsylvania, asked for a waiver for the construction-industry-at-large, and clarification of his executive order to shut down businesses.

There is no doubt the Coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic has disrupted and impacted our daily lives and measures are needed to limit the spread, ABC officials said. The construction industry has been doing its part in sharing information, resources, and best practices. Many of its members build the supply chain for the very ‘life-sustaining businesses’ that are required to remain open, they said.

“There is no greater time for our government leaders to provide clear guidance to the business community,” said Joe Perpiglia, ABC Eastern Chapter president and CEO, in the letter. “The governor’s order created chaos and confusion at a time when we need the opposite.”

Others stressed the need to find a reasonable balance between mitigating the health crisis and continuing the essential services the construction industry provides to the community.

“Our members’ main concern is certainly the well-being of their employees,” said

Marianne Hazel, ABC Central Chapter president. “The guidelines and communication flowing from the Department of Health have been very clear and helpful. In fact, our association has passed along these resources during this pandemic. We ask the governor to follow suit and provide us with clarity on the executive order.”

The five chapters are the Central Pennsylvania Chapter; Cumberland Valley Chapter; Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter; Keystone Chapter; and Western Pennsylvania Chapter.

ABC PA represents nearly 1,400 member companies and about 67,000 employees.

Businesses that could apply for a waiver include those that perform life-sustaining construction projects, said Lyndsay Kensinger, spokesperson for Gov. Wolf, in a statement. The state Department of Community & Economic Development is working through the waiver review process right now.