Select Business Reopen As Some Shelter Orders Lifted

The Bay Area’s economy is taking a small step towards re-opening Monday as six counties and the city of Berkeley amend their shelter orders to allow some types of business to resume. 

One of the biggest sectors to reopen Monday is construction. An estimated 25,000 construction workers are expected to return to their jobs in Santa Clara County alone. Previously only a small amount of construction projects were allowed to continue, including affordable housing field hospitals.

Residential, commercial and public works projects will be allowed to ramp back up with new safety protocols in place. Workers will be required to line up six feet apart to enter work sites, wear masks and frequently wash their hands and use hand sanitizer. There will also be limitations on the number of workers in an elevator at one time and new protocols to avoid people congregating at choke points. A third party person will also be required to police the new protocols.

“It’s critical that all workers are making sure their sites are following the very clear protocols put forward by our health officer,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “If you believe that your work site is not safe for you, please contact the city or Alameda County. We want to ensure that all workers are safe. We cannot put profits before people.“

The mayor says she is excited to see progress being made.

“The Bay Area is in a housing crisis, so I am thrilled that construction is going to resume,” said Schaaf. “We need more housing of all types. And we have some new businesses and jobs that want to move to Oakland and that won’t happen unless we finish building those new office buildings." 

On top of construction, other outside businesses are getting the green light: nurseries, landscaping, gardening and flea markets can re-open as most of their business is conducted outdoors and with ample room for social distancing. Recreation facilities such as skate parks and golf courses can also re-open as they do not require physical contact or shared equipment, but no carts are allowed.