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As of 3/30/2020: Continued Updates on the Impact of State and Local “Stay-at-Home” or “Shelter-in-Place” Orders on Construction in AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, and TX

Many states, counties, and cities have issued “stay-at-home” or “shelter-in-place” (collectively, SIP) orders to combat the spread of COVID-19. Below we are providing updates focusing on the impact these sweeping orders could have on new and ongoing construction projects in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. As with all the effects of COVID-19, the issuance, interpretation, and enforcement of these orders are fast-breaking and in constant flux.

To view Jones Walker LLP’s construction team’s full summary on the impact of state and local “Stay-at-Home” or “Shelter-in-Place” orders on construction in AL, FL, GA, LA, MS, and TX, click here.

ALABAMA:

On Friday, March 27, 2020, the governor and the Alabama Department of Public Health issued an Amended Public Health Order applicable statewide and limiting meetings of 10 people or more and requiring certain “non-essential businesses” to be closed to the public. However, employees are still permitted to report to work at these non-essential businesses. Importantly, the Amended Public Health Order does not apply to the construction industry. All non-essential businesses subject to this order are listed in the Amended Public Health Order.

FLORIDA:

Orange County (Orlando) (effective March 26, 2020)

  • As with the Miami-Dade order, open construction sites are allowed to remain open, and architectural and engineering businesses are considered essential. Unlike the Miami-Dade order, there is no limitation that the architectural/engineering business may only operate for ongoing construction projects. Keep track at this Orange County webpageHillsborough County (Tampa) (effective March 27, 2020)

  • This order allows people to leave their residences for purposes of providing any services or perform any work necessary to operate, maintain, and repair Essential Infrastructure. Among other things, Essential Infrastructure includes “construction.” Keep track at this Hillsborough County webpage.

GEORGIA: No updates since our last post here.

MISSISSIPPI:

On Thursday March 26, 2020, Mississippi’s governor issued a supplement to executive order No. 1463. The supplementation clarified that previously issued executive order No. 1463 provided the minimum applicable restrictions, and was not intended to prevent local governments from enacting more stringent rules and regulations.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is maintaining a list of city and county stay-at-home or social distancing orders regarding COVID-19. The MEMA list is a working list that is updated as municipalities submit paperwork. There is a lag between when a local order is enacted or revised and when it appears on MEMA’s webpage.

LOUISIANA: No updates since our last post here.

TEXAS:

Dallas County issued a new order directed at construction activities, in an attempt to clarify that construction is essential and the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order was not intended to stop commercial construction activities. The order provides that “construction for public works, residential, commercial, and schools” are critical infrastructure and deemed essential. “Elective additions and maintenance are prohibited.”

Further, it provides various requirements for all general and subcontractors, including mandatory temperature checks before workers leave home; soap, water, and hand sanitizer at the workplace; rest breaks every four hours; at least one (1) working, flushing toilet for every fifteen (15) workers on site and one (1) outdoor portable toilet for every ten (10) workers onsite. General and subcontractors must have a designated COVID-19 safety monitor on each site, and that person must have the authority to enforce the rules in the order. It also prohibits employers from taking adverse action “against an employee who has been quarantined, or advised to self-quarantine, due to possible exposure to coronavirus.” Finally, it makes the general contractor at a site responsible for compliance by all subcontractors. If an entity fails to comply, “the general contractor and non-compliant subcontractor can be removed from the essential business list.”

© 2020 Jones Walker LLP

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About this Author

Chris Cazenave Litigation Attorney Jones Walker New Orleans, LA
Partner

Chris Cazenave is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group. He focuses on construction litigation and alternative dispute resolution.


Chris advises clients in all facets and at every step of construction-related disputes, including early dispute avoidance, pre-litigation counseling, settlement, mediation, arbitration, pre-trial strategy development, and trial. He understands that disputes on a project can lead to costly delays or threaten successful outcomes altogether, and works closely with clients to manage risks and determine the most effective, results-...

504.582.8408
Neal Sweeney Litigation and Construction Attorney Jones Walker Houston, TX
Partner

Neal Sweeney is a partner in the Litigation Practice Group. He focuses his practice exclusively on construction law and government contracts.  


Drawing on his more than 30 years of experience with the construction industry, Neal counsels clients on major infrastructure and P3 projects such as transit, airports, highways, wastewater treatment, and tunnels. He is also involved in energy and industrial projects linked to clean technology and renewable sources, including hydro, solar, wind, geothermal, integrated gasification combined cycle, and landfill gas. 

Throughout his career, Neal has successfully negotiated contracts for engineering, design-build, O&M, and equipment totaling billions of dollars. He provides legal support throughout the life of a project, focusing on risk mitigation and real-time dispute resolution. He regularly represents contractors, designers, and public and private owners.

Neal has participated in the trials of various large and complex construction disputes in court as well as in arbitration and before federal boards of contract appeals involving the US Army Corps of Engineers, General Services Administration (GSA), Veterans Administration (VA), and other federal agencies.

Before joining Jones Walker, Neal practiced at the Atlanta office of an Am Law 100 firm, where he was a partner in the construction and infrastructure and the water and wastewater teams.

In addition to his direct client work, Neal has edited or coauthored more than 25 books on construction law and regularly contributes to industry publications. He lectures frequently for various construction industry organizations and educational institutions, including AGC, ACEC, ARTBA, NACWA, DBIA, Georgia Tech, Stanford University, and the University of Florida.

713.437.1882
TIFFANY C. Raush Associate Litigation Construction Practice Energy Litigation
Associate

Tiffany represents clients in midstream and upstream energy industries. Her practice is heavily focused on energy infrastructure projects and construction disputes. She has represented clients in large-scale arbitration over change orders worth more than $20 million, as well as in title defect claims. She has managed litigation for acquisition of right-of-way for a nearly $3 billion infrastructure project stretching from Texas to Louisiana. She also has represented design professionals in litigation related to the construction of expressways, highway interchanges, maintenance of traffic...

713-437-1848