How do Texas shelter in place orders affect Workers Defense members and our community?

Workers Defense members are impacted in many ways by the COVID-19 crisis — economically, socially, and physically. This page includes useful information about how recent shelter in place orders affect members who work in construction in the three main areas where Workers Defense members live: Dallas, Houston and Austin. 

Want to know what we’re fighting for at this time? Check our call to action here.

Dallas and Dallas County

Stay Home Stay Safe order effective March 23 to April 29th (City of Dallas) April 3rd (Dallas County)

What does it mean for construction?
The order requires that only “essential” businesses remain open and all other businesses close. All construction — residential, commercial and public — is considered essential and can remain open according to the order. Elective additions and maintenance are prohibited.

Other businesses that can remain open include hardware stores, plumbers, electricians, cleaning services, and others who provide services necessary for maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and essential businesses.

How will it be enforced?
Employers, not workers, are responsible for determining whether work continues on a site. If code compliance does an inspection it would be the employer that is responsible not the employees. However, since construction is considered essential in Dallas and Dallas County, your employer should not be fined for continuing work on a construction site.

Where can I get more information?
Frequently asked questions
Stay Home, Stay Safe Order
Call 311 for more information (City of Dallas only)

Houston and Harris County

Stay Home, Work Safe order effective March 24th to April 3rd

What does it mean for construction?
The order requires that only “essential” businesses remain open. All construction — residential, commercial and public — is considered essential and can remain open according to the order. 

Essential businesses also include services done by plumbers, electricians, exterminators, yard and maintenance crews, housekeepers, janitorial staff, pool cleaners and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operations of residences and essential businesses.

How will it be enforced? 
Since construction is considered essential in Houston and Harris County, your employer should not be fined for continuing work on a construction site.

Where can I get more information?
ReadyHarris.org has many resources including frequently asked questions and the text of the order.
If you have questions on the Stay Home, WorkSafe order send an email to stayhome@cjo.hctx.net.
To report non-essential entities violating current public health orders call 832-839-6941.

Austin and Travis County

Shelter in Place order effective March 24th to April 13th.

What does it mean for construction?
The order requires that only “essential” businesses remain open and all other businesses close. Only public construction is considered essential, but residential and commercial construction are considered non-essential in this order, meaning that the sites where Workers Defense members work may close.

In addition to public construction, the order allows for businesses in “critical trades” to continue including:

Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, pool cleaners, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences, essential activities, essential businesses essential government functions or critical infrastructure, including but not limited to utilities such as electricity, gas, water and wastewater and other public works

Example: if you are fixing a resident’s AC, plumbing, etc. for a resident’s home or an essential business, you are permitted to be doing work. You cannot install a new AC into a house that is currently in the process of being built.

How will it be enforced?
Employers, not workers, are responsible for determining whether work continues on a site. If your employer continues to operate a site and you are approached by a Peace Officer, the City of Austin Code Enforcement and Code Department Code Inspectors, or Fire Marshals, the officer will ask to speak to the top person at the job or you should direct them to your employer/supervisor.

Where can I get more information?
General information
Stay Home — Work Safe Order
Call 311 with questions if you live in the City of Austin

It’s our commitment to do everything we can to support our membership and fight for the kind of protections they need during the COVID-19 crisis and always. You can join this fight by donating to Workers Defense: www.workersdefense.org/donate

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