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Cicero Restarts Several Renovation Projects with Heightened COVID-19 Precautions

Following a six month hiatus due to COVID-19, Cicero Construction Group has restarted several major renovation projects, including hotels, retail outlets and office space. The renovations not only showcase the many talents of Cicero Construction Group employees, it demonstrates the abundance of caution the company exercises to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on the job, by going above and beyond safety requirements mandated by OSHA, the CDC and local government. "In the era of COVID-19, minimizing the spread of the virus on construction sites has become a top priority," explained Sam Cicero, president of Cicero Construction Group. "We have taken proactive steps to protect our workers, our customer's employees, as well as their guests and visitors." As the business community pivots toward the re-opening phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, renovation projects will be very different than they were a year ago and business-as-usual is likely a thing of the past. For the construction and renovation industry, which employs almost 10.7 million people in the United States, this means taking every necessary precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while supporting the nation’s buildings and infrastructure, and providing much-needed income for the people who work on those projects. Before restarting several projects, Cicero Construction Group developed and implemented a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan consistent with the recognized best practices of the CDC. A benchmark for safety, the plan includes:

  1. Training employees to identify symptoms of COVID-19, such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath, and requiring those with symptoms to notify their supervisor and self-quarantine. Employees with symptoms are not allowed to return to work until consultation with healthcare providers, and contact tracing is conducted to pinpoint those who may be infected. Employees are also made aware that their off-work behavior may expose them to the virus, and are encouraged to practice social distancing when shopping, exercising, or engaging in other activities.

  2. At the start of each day, crew members have their temperature taken before going to work to detect fever.

  3. As part of social distancing, Cicero Construction Group limits the number of workers in workspace areas under construction. Normal work schedules have been modified and various trades are being staged throughout projects so that only one trade is working at a time onsite.

  4. Each construction task is analyzed to determine if a single person can do the job, if possible, to avoid close proximity with other employees.

  5. Cicero Construction Group employees are required to wear face masks except when respirators are needed to prevent exposure to harmful dusts, fumes, gases, or sprays. Those working in close quarters with others are also encouraged to wear face shields, gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and goggles.

  6. Any shared tools, machines, vehicles or other equipment are cleaned and disinfected at the beginning and end of every shift, along with frequently touched surfaces. Disinfectant wipes are readily available onsite for cleaning these items along with wiping down smartphones, computer keyboards, and pens.

  7. Delivery personnel are required to remain in their vehicles while building materials are being unloaded, with minimal or no socialization with Cicero Construction Group workers.

  8. Sub-contractors hired by Cicero Construction Group must complete a health verification questionnaire before entering a property.

  9. Construction areas are restricted by large barriers, plastic sheets, card readers, and COVID-19 signage.

  10. Hand washing is encouraged by keeping sanitizer onsite at all times.

  11. Meetings with building owners and management are conducted via conference calls. When in-person meetings are necessary, Cicero Construction Group limits the group to less than five people while practicing proper social distancing.

Another challenge facing construction companies is job site travel. Headquartered outside of Chicago, Cicero Construction Group is regularly flying employees around the country for projects. Booked flights typically require passengers to complete a waiver regarding past quarantines, positive test results, and symptoms. They also must receive negative test results 48 hours prior to boarding the flight. The company has streamlined this process by arranging for testing for its traveling employees.

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