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How can people continue working during a “lock down”?

Jul 1, 1998
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
Note: not talking about the usual "exempt" categories like medical, emergency, law enforcement, military, etc.

Many people, families, businesses, jobs, households, etc. are being impacted by various governments (City, County, State) doing a broad-brush one-size-fits-all by closing and shutting down all work activities (with the exception of those mentioned in "Note:" above). The Federal Government has their requirement but the other governments can make some modification depending if the Federal requirements are "recommendations" or "required".

How can people work continue during a “lock down”? Need some help understanding why workers are not allowed to work except for those on the approved list.
For example: roofer, painter, plumber, backhoe operator, yard maintenance (cutting the lawn, hedge trimming), mechanics like those in a tire shop, doing lube & oil service, car repair, appliance repair (in a home), etc. If these workers can work at a virus-safe distance and in a safe manner, then is there any reason why can’t they be allowed to work?

If, for safety reasons, a second person is required as a co-worker (say, roofer, worker in a ditch, painter on a ladder, etc.) and the second person can be at a COVID-19 distance, and not transmit a virus via contact (tools, parts, door knobs, paper, etc), then why can’t this be allowed?

Really seeking some ideas on this because it doesn’t make sense to prohibit everyone from working, if doing so would not result in viral communication or transfer. In situations where one has to get parts, service orders from a customer, payment from a customer, these activities can be modified from the current/existing procedures to provide adequate distance and separation. For example, putting the service order on a countertop at a distance from the service manager. On the other hand, technology can provide wireless transmission of data where there is no need for paper. Payment via credit card where phone number or code doesn't have to be entered in the scanner device, etc. Those types of details and requirements can be worked out. This is the computer age, right?

Example #1: Someone who needs new tires can drive their car onto the rack, get out, close the door, then wait in a safe location to be determined. The tire mechanic can do his work without ever touching the car door or the steering wheel. Once finished, the customer can pay the bill and back the car off the rack. The whole time in the service bay there would be no transmission of virus. The service department office is a separate operation to be worked out like the tire bay.

Example #2: House painter: This is almost self-explanatory. A single person can paint a house by themself; however, depending on heights, safety requirements, and what have you, a second person may be required. However, a job like this would be easy to do without viral contamination.

Worker (or contractor?) Approval: How to have the worker maintain separation? Describe the work process and requirements for viral protection in a GUIDE Specification. Have the worker review the specification and adjust the Guide Specification it to fit the job. The [City][County][State] Safety Health inspector/person would review and reject/approve, or approve subject to conditions.
Inspections: The Approval Authority would have inspection authority to ensure the work is performed as required. That could potentially be contracted out to a safety inspector so as to not impact the Approval Authority office.

Our county is using the sledge hammer approach to kill a fly and impacting the economy by not allowing anyone to work (except the exempt or work-from-home ones) and this shut-down will last for many more weeks. But does it have to? Also, the County is not policing or controlling people's movements like those in China, Singapore, South Korea, or some other areas, so as a result the infections are continuing to rise and once peaked, will last longer.
Personally, I would feel much more comfortable if the local governments would do a better job of keeping people from unnecessarily running around AND, as the same time, allow those that can work without spreading the contagion, to do so. By not doing so will cost everybody big time. Like the oil advertisement says: "You can pay me now, or you can pay me later."

This won't be the last contagion so by coming up with an improved modus operandi we'll be more prepared for the next one.
What do you guys think???
Edit: I plan to sent a post to our County Commissioner so if there is something that can be added it would be appreciated.
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Jan 11, 2014
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
Here's a link to how NY State is handling the shut down.

Essential construction is allowed for either emergency or safety, single person contractors are allowed.

Retail is mostly closed, but liquor stores can stay open.

The list goes on.

I recently read the requirements for Portland ME, while a business may not be open, a limited number of people are allowed to work to maintain books, cash checks, etc.

The county I live in has taken an aggressive role in policing gatherings. You can go outside, take a walk, stop and talk to one or two people, but a tailgate party? House Party? You might get arrested and face a $500 fine.

As always the devil is in the details and the details don't always make the headlines.
Feb 20, 2011
Island Packet 35 Tucson, AZ/San Carlos, MX
Example #1:
An insurance company would nix that approach.

Yeah, I hate 'em too.

Wish I had more and better answers, but the little guy is mostly screwed.
And think of all the unbanked folks. No $1,200 checks for them.
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Jul 1, 1998
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
Dave: Thank you for the post.
Without a preventative or cure available, isolation and separation is a major part, actually, at this time, the only way of making this this thing go away.
An idea from Austria: People who are vulnerable will not be allowed to work.
President Trump said that a test with fast results may be available. If true, a test like that could be made a part of an application.
Aug 7, 2018
Oday 34 113 Lake Ontario, Sodus Bay
This could easily turn in to a political discussion. Not good. I do hope being out of work is not causing you grave concern. Stay home and stay healthy.
Feb 17, 2006
Lancer 27PS MCB Camp Pendleton KF6BL
My wife's office is considered essential. She even has a letter stating that. Since the office must remain open, it is half staff so every other day she works at home (via VPN) and has the phone setup to transfer. I know this is not really what you were asking but laborers have different requirements than office.
Sep 22, 2018
Hunter 216 Kingston
@John Nantz
For me I think it is more of a philosophical “Should” question than a mechanical “How can” one.

You came up with some excellent ideas about how to go about things and some of them like allowing plumbers, mechanics and other trades to “repair” existing systems make sense. I believe in those circumstance there should be some solid guidelines about how to do that in a relatively “safe” way but any of that type of thing introduces “fuzz”. It might be perfectly fine in one particular scenario and absolutely crazy in another. How do you propose a fair standard?

On the “should” part I would say that the powers that be are getting increasingly more “aggressive” in the message of go home, stay home and stay physically separated and they are starting to back it up with “enforcement”. I think you will be hard pressed to find an official that will go along with relaxing restrictions.
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Dec 28, 2015
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
You need to do a little research on cross contamination and its compounding effects. I think it will help you better understand.


Aug 23, 2019
Catalina 22 13425 A driveway in Pittsburgh
There are many outdoor workers continuing to work in my area. Lawn work, some construction, some car shops are having folks drop their car and disinfect before and after the work is done. It might have something to due with the level of fear or compassion of your local government. It seems to be a "reasonable person" measure here rather than a binary decision. Too bad there are so few reasonable people.
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Feb 14, 2017
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
Mixed feelings. The problem is too much of our country have people incapable of making adult decisions, so you get told what to do instead...
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Ward H

Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
In NJ roofers, plumbers, appliance and auto repair shops are open for maintenance/repairs. Private construction, road construction and paving is iworking. I think landscaping is also open.
Our marina yard is open but the office is closed.

The problem is no one is spending money on any repairs/maintenance unless absolutely necessary.
IE 1: My buddy is a repair tech for a large high end car dealer. They were keeping 40 techs busy before the shut down. Now they are getting 4-6 jobs per day. A fleet of 70 some loaner cars normally had a wait list. Now they are all sitting in the car lot.
IE 2: Friend needed his stove fixed. Appliance repair guy could be there in an hour.

PA reported today over 4,000 Covid-19 cases. NJ reported over 16,000 cases. I expect the NJ stay at home order to get stricter and business closures to increase before lessoning.

@JRT posted while I was writing. I agree with his statement.
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Apr 3, 2019
Macgregor 26M Mobile AL
In Alabama they closed all non-essential stores. Liquor stores, gun and ammo stores and marinas are considered essential.....:clap::clap::clap::biggrin:

Should I cry or laugh:poop:
Embrace it. You're one of us now.
Jul 1, 1998
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
This won't be the last pandemic unless the world comes to an end. Therefore, if procedures can be figured out on this one we'll be that much further ahead the next time. For example, all these "Refund Checks" (if that's what they're called) that are being sent out, they used ideas from the last time something like that was done. Frankly, I don't remember that time (my wife does the taxes) but that's what I read.
Safe and "Fuzz": There is probably no way to be totally "safe" in a work/executive order, so other than that, it's a continuum. Even right now with the edicts to "isolate" and "stay at home" "... except for ...." , there is fuzz. Speaking of fuzz, are Easter eggs an "essential" like food? If the hard-boiled ones are, what about the chocolate ones? This was a real life situation where someone got fined so I'm not making this up.

For "solid guidelines", or at least as close to "solid" as one can get, starting with I call a Guide Specification for a general activity, then adjusting the spec for a specific activity, then have it reviewed and approved by a competent health official, so this would be one way to go. Then, of course, there is inspection to ensure the agreement is followed.
[for info, in A-E work, Guide Specifications are a general spec, not written for a particular job.. The purpose is to help speed up and make the specification process easier. The designer tweaks the spec, like adding, subtracting, or changing the wording, to fit a particular project and the specification becomes a part of the contract, or agreement.]

The thought is that a set of Guide Specs can be written for various activities (check-out at a store, tire shop installing tires, backhoe operation for trenching, etc.) to cover the prevention of virus transmission. The store owner, contractor, or business person, would then have to edit the Guide Spec to fit the work. The spec would cover separation of people, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleanliness, material requirements for sanitizers or PPE clothing, and all those things one must do for prevention.

This concept would be for those who don't fit the "essential" category and everyone who do not have an approved COVID safety plan would have to self-isolate. So there would be three groups: (1) Essential workers, (2) COVID Compliant workers or workplaces, and, (3) none-of-the-above, ergo, Self-isolating people.

Question: This concept would be an idea to help some people, workers, or businesses (particularly small businesses) to stay operational. Is this too much for, say, a typical County Commissioner to comprehend?

Question: If not this, then What else would be needed to help get people back to work?
The "None of the Above" option is where only the "essential" people work and everyone else stays isolated at home.
Jul 1, 1998
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
An insurance company would nix that approach.
This was with regard to my original post Option #1, the customer driving their own car into the tire bay.
I called a local tire shop and they said that wouldn't be allowed. They put plastic on the steering wheel and the seat.
Wouldn't be surprised if there was a situation once where a customer drove the car in while the tire shop guy was standing in front and directing the driver to be more to the left or right, then instead of breaking the customer put their foot on the gas.
All it would take is one insurance claim and that would do it.