SC Biz News is speaking with small businesses and community leaders about the impact of the new coronavirus on business and industry, and how this is changing how they operate.
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Though many businesses in the region have shut down, Mashburn Construction is still hard at work.
“Job sites are open for business,” CEO Paul Mashburn said. “But we are practicing social distancing on the job sites and have wash stations posted on the job sites.”
The construction sites also have sanitizers, and all project meetings of more than 10 people have been called off. Any meeting that needs to take place happens outside instead of in a trailer, and weekly owner-architect-contractor meetings are held virtually instead of in person.
Mashburn said one of the most important tasks is keeping employees and project owners updated about what’s happening and what decisions are being made by the company and by the government.
“A lot of our owners are out of state, so they don’t know exactly whether or not our governor has shut down projects and all that,” he said. “So we’re keeping everybody informed. We’re trying to keep everyone calm by conducting these meetings and talking and allowing people to ask questions and try to understand the risks and things that we’re implementing.”
Mashburn said unless the government orders construction sites to close, he currently has no intention of shutting down. Construction is permitted under Charleston’s ordinance that passed Tuesday night ordering all non-essential businesses to close.
“I believe that if people are practicing these cleanliness guidelines and social distancing, that we can still work,” he said. “We can go to work and work safely.”
Mashburn added that he believes making sure people can still work is the best thing to do right now.
“I think that we need to all approach this with a sense of calm and a sense of common sense,” Mashburn said. “And, you know, no matter what, I think we’re all going to get through it. I think our company is going to be fine. I think the economy is going to bounce back.”
The calculus may change, he said, if someone at a construction site gets sick or if the Lowcountry sees a spike in cases.
“All these decisions are difficult in this time because … you’ve got to take the information that you get and look at what’s happening across the country and specifically look at what’s happening in your state,” he said.
Looking at projects in the pipeline, Mashburn said he’s mostly seen projects being put on hold but none outright canceled thus far.
“We’re certainly going to have a big rebound from all the lost revenue,” he said.g