Sergio Pino shuts down construction site after workers test positive for Covid-19

200 workers told to go home

Sergio Pino and rendering of 850 LeJeune
Sergio Pino and rendering of 850 LeJeune

Developer Sergio Pino shut down his construction site near Miami International Airport after two workers tested positive for Covid-19.

Pino’s Century Homebuilders Group informed its general contractors, Wechsler Construction and Conconcreto, to stop work on the 850 LeJeune mixed-use project this morning, Pino said. About 200 workers, including subcontractors, have been working on the site.

Construction has been allowed to continue in Miami-Dade County despite the coronavirus pandemic. It is included in the county’s definition of essential businesses that are not required to shut down. Century Homebuilders said it’s following guidelines from the Florida Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other government entities to keep its workers safe.

Pino said he urged all workers at the project, at 850 Le Jeune Road in Miami, to get tested for Covid-19, and to self-quarantine, and he offered to pay for the tests. He also encouraged salaried employees to stay home and said employee salaries will not be affected. Before he decided to close the site, workers were told to keep at least six feet between each other and not gather in groups.

“In construction it’s very difficult. These guys are used to hanging out, having lunch with each other,” Pino said.

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The developer and its partner, Pactia USA, are building 230 multifamily units and about 200,000 square feet of office space at 850 LeJeune. The project will consist of two, five-story office buildings; a six-story apartment building and a parking garage on a 4-acre site.

The construction site will not reopen until it’s safe to do so, and Pino said that he hired a company to do a deep cleaning and disinfecting of the project.

Construction is ongoing for Century Homebuilders’ other projects. Pino said his other sites, which are townhouse and single-family home developments, are more spread out, and workers are being watched to make sure they keep their distance, wear protective gear, and wash their hands every hour.

“If they don’t follow the rules, the problem can be huge,” he said.

In New York, officials are considering limiting the types of construction that qualify as “essential.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo indicated that he is open to changing his executive order of last week that exempted all construction from a ban on employees of non-essential businesses reporting to work.