NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Contractors are taking extra precautions to do repairs on homes to prevent crews from contracting COVID-19, especially those needing repair from the March 3 tornadoes.
"They've fixed some homes around here but some homes i know its going to take a while," said Gregory Washington who's home was damaged in the tornado.
He and his cousin are waiting on repairs to their north Nashville home, windows were blown out and the roof damaged. Less than a month later, their greatest concern is now the coronavirus.
"I dont wanna get sick or give any body anything or get anything so I wear the mask," said his cousin Ms. Washington.
"Its probably essential that these people get back in their house you know," said contractor Arnold King.
King is replacing a roof on a house in down the street from the Washingtons.
The Home Builder's Association of Tennessee and other groups issued a letter in March to Gov. Lee to allow contractors to keep working to repair homes reading:
"While the nation and our state deal with the public health crisis, many Tennesseans are still reeling from the March 3rd tornadoes. Many homes and businesses are either damaged or destroyed, and this health crisis has hit just as rebuilding begins in the aftermath of those storms. Homeowners and business owners need our resources to rebuild, and we need the opportunity to help them.
Tennessee citizens are coping with a variety of restrictions as a result of the health crisis, it is essential that they have access to our professionals to build and maintain essential services like plumbing, electrical, HVAC systems, water/wastewater treatment plants, power generation and distribution facilities, hospitals and roads, and provide them shelter.
Aside from providing comfort, this equipment is vital for both health and safety reasons as well as volume of productivity, particularly for air filtration and food and medical supply preservation, especially in this time of quarantine. When equipment fails, qualified, licensed personnel must be able to repair or replace it as quickly as possible to ensure continued operations."
Contractors and builders are considered essential services according to the state.
"We just been coming up here every day for two weeks," said King.
The homeowners are staying out of the home while he makes the repairs. King keeps his crew minimal to protect themselves from the coronavirus.
The Tennessee Home Builder's Association put out recommendations for contractors to use to avoid getting sick. The list includes outlining disinfecting practices at a job site, using masks when possible. Contractors are also encouraged to focus on repairs that can be done outside and only enter a home if absolutely necessary and the owners can be at a safe distance or out of the house.
They also suggest people needing new emergency repairs inside the home, "this will be necessary while shelter in place orders are in effect. If an essential component of you home needs repair, both the customer and the repair workers should take additional steps to ensure proper disinfection, use of appropriate PPE, physical separation and other common sense standards to secure the working space. We should take special care to prevent the spread of infection in these situations."
The Home Builder's Association of Tennessee also says reminds to make sure the contractor you're using is licensed, check verify.tn.gov
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License Search and Verification. For best results, please limit the number of search fields. Only exact matches will be displayed. You may need to try different variations of search terms. e.g., "Smith and Smith Construction" and "Smith & Smith Construction."