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All non-essential construction was halted from 6pm Friday, 8 January by the government in response to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the country.
Ahead of the shutdown last week, Ireland’s Construction Industry Federation (CIF) suggested the measure wasn’t necessary because the industry was operating safely and because the infection rate among Ireland’s 147,000 construction workers was “considerably below the population average at all times”.
The last shutdown saw a 10% or €3 billion decline in economic activity in the sector.
“Companies are redoubling their efforts to prevent/screen Covid from being imported from the community after the Christmas period,” CIF director general Tom Parlon told The Irish Times. “Testing, screening and constant communication with sub-contractors and employees is underway. The message is if you are a close contact or exhibit any symptoms do not show up to work.”
Parlon noted that “no other country – barring some US states and Italy in the initial wave – have shut down construction during lockdowns. Most recently, the UK and Scotland have entered lockdown and left construction operational.”
Cerain project types remain exempt from closing, such as some healthcare facilities, schools, social housing, works on vacant residential properties controlled by local authorities, and critical transport and utility infrastructure. Also exempt are certain projects relating to construction at Technological University Dublin Campus Grangegorman.
A list of exemptions is available here.
Contacting members, CIF stated that “Any company operating on Monday must recognise that there will be significant attention and scrutiny around all activity. The HSE will continue to monitor incidence on site. The rate of Covid-19 in the community is exceptionally higher than any previous point in time.”
CIF advised companies to follow its updated Covid standard operating.