General Contractors And Others Lobby To Be Deemed 'Essential'

Mar 26, 2020

Construction workers using Robotic-Assist Devices
Credit Carolinas Associated General Contractors / Twitter

Groups that represent hospitals and doctors are pushing for Governor Roy Cooper to order a shelter-in-place.

But the North Carolina Chamber has said such an order should be a "last-ditch resort." And industries like real estate and construction want the governor to consider them essential during the coronavirus pandemic and allow them to keep running.

Betsy Bailey is a lobbyist for the group Carolinas Associated General Contractors.  She argues commercial construction operations can practice social distancing, and keep their workers safe and healthy.

"Nobody that I could think of would jeopardize an entire project and their workforce just for their bottom line, just so they can keep the job open a couple more days," she said. "They're just not going to do that."

Some local governments across the state have issued their own stay-at-home directives.  They generally only make exceptions for healthcare and service jobs, and activities like grocery shopping, exercising or seeking medical care.