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COVID-19 is facing contractors with a variety of unique challenges right now. Is roofing an essential business during the pandemic? And how do you go about keeping your workers safe on the job? These are questions that everyone is asking—and below, we have the answers that you are looking for!

Is Roofing Essential?

State governments have called for the closure of non-essential businesses all over the United States in response to the pandemic—but the rules and regulations aren’t always clear, which leaves many wondering which businesses are deemed essential and which are not.

The important thing to remember is that in this, regulations vary from state to state, so what is true in one state may not be true in your state. You’ll need to check for specifics within your state, and possibly within your city, too, as certain cities have created rules that depart from state regulations. However, in general, most areas do classify roofing as an essential business just the same as other essential providers like plumbers, electricians or exterminators. Roofing is vital to protecting a building against the elements, and thus, roofers are needed to install or repair roofs despite COVID-19.

Protecting Roofers During the Pandemic

With most areas still allowing roofing contractors to go to work, the question arises of how to keep these workers safe on the jobsite. COVID-19 brings safety challenges unlike any ever experienced within the construction industry before. Still, it is possible to minimize risk if you ensure that your workforce is following a few essential precautions.

  • Practice social distancing as much as possible. This is challenging on a jobsite that may require workers to be in contact with each other to lift heavy objects or perform other tasks. However, on a jobsite, it can help to reduce the number of workers on the job site at any one time by organizing labor in different shifts. It’s also wise to advise clients to stay indoors and ask workers to stay outdoors as much as possible while the work is being completed.
  • In some cases, certain workers can work remotely. Engineers, for instance, can view photos of the jobsite or drone footage, and they can send their drawings and other relevant information electronically. It’s also possible to use video conferencing to meet with homeowners or property owners to discuss plans.
  • Provide personal protective equipment like masks to reduce the potential for transmission of COVID-19.
  • It’s also a good idea to make sure that the jobsite has ways to keep sanitation up to standard. Providing hand sanitizer or ways for workers to wash their hands regularly is essential. You can also eliminate shared water coolers and other similar shared items, and instead provide individual bottles of water to help reduce transmission risk.
  • Ask employees to stay home if they present a fever or if they feel sick to reduce the risk of illness spreading.

Even with precautions, it may be that regulations or other challenges get in the way of completing a roofing project. In light of the economic downturn, for example, some have experienced delays in supply deliveries—which means you could have a bare roof, and you’re still waiting for the shingles or other material that you need to install.

In this instance, underlayment is key. Products like Epilay’s Protectite line come with 1-year UV protection, and they’re resistant to moisture, which means they can withstand exposure and help protect the roof deck in the event of delays, furloughs or other challenges that might stop you from completing a roof.

COVID-19 has presented challenges within the roofing industry. However, with the tips provided above, you can reduce the risk of transmission and help keep your workers safe on the jobsite. And in the event of delays? Choose an underlayment that will help you keep rooftops protected until you can finish the installation!