Days after shutting down his construction site after workers tested positive for Covid-19, developer Sergio Pino said the project is open again.
Pino, who has been pushing for a shutdown of construction in South Florida, said there is a limited crew on the site at 850 LeJeune Road, near Miami International Airport. About 40 workers are on site out of about 220, he said.
“We are definitely not going as fast,” Pino said. “We cannot be the only ones to shut down, because if we do that the workers will go to other locations and that defeats the purpose.”
The Miami developer said he respects the decisions of other developers to continue working, acknowledging that he has not received any support from his peers at this time.
Two workers at his 850 LeJeune project tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and Pino informed his general contractors, Wechsler Construction and Conconcreto, to stop working.
The project site underwent a deep cleaning and disinfecting.
Pino stressed that fewer workers are on the site today, and the project superintendent is ensuring that workers are not congregating in groups larger than six to eight people. The developer said the site is following guidelines from the Florida Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and other government entities to keep workers safe.
Construction has been allowed to continue in Miami-Dade County, despite the pandemic. It is included in the county’s definition of essential businesses that are not required to shut down. On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced he will be issuing a statewide stay-at-home order.
Nearly 7,000 people in Florida have tested positive for Covid-19, as of Wednesday, according to data from the state’s health department. At least 87 people have died. In Miami-Dade County, 2,202 people have tested positive, and seven have died.
Pino’s Century Homebuilders Group 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.
Pino still believes a shutdown of construction is needed to limit the spread of coronavirus, and is pushing for it to be shut down for 10 business days. He would like to be given enough time to secure his tools and materials, and close sites to “try to avoid a bigger problem.”
“We’re concerned.” he said. “There are thousands of people that work in our industry.”