With workers wearing masks…
The. ‘Big Apple’ begins to reopen….
And is demonstrating how the virus is changing our lives going forward….
On the Far West Side of Manhattan, construction workers start every morning with a thermal forehead scan to take their temperatures. On service elevators at the high-rise development, they stand on floor markings to maintain social distancing. And when deliveries arrive, drivers stay behind the wheel while the haul is unloaded.
City building inspectors often show up unannounced, issuing warnings and fines if safety procedures are being ignored.
The construction industry, an engine that has helped power New York City’s tremendous growth in recent years, is slowly starting to reawaken, offering one of the first optimistic economic glimmers as the city struggles to recover.
And it also provides a glimpse of how the coronavirus pandemic has fundamentally changed the workplace in the nation’s largest city and the epicenter of the outbreak.
“I would have to say that the industry has evolved very rapidly to adapt to our current environment regarding the coronavirus,” said Gary LaBarbera, the president of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, which represents more than 100,000 union members.
Across the city, laborers are wearing respiratory masks not only while working but also during breaks. They are disinfecting their tools, something rarely done before, and contractors have installed additional hand-washing stations.
The most significant changes, perhaps, could still be on the way. Representatives of labor groups and contractor companies are pushing the city to permit 24-hour construction at some locations to reduce the number of laborers on site at any one time.
image…Credit…Juan Arredondo for The New York Times