ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - Construction companies across the U.P. have been forced to close due to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s shelter-in-place order.
However, essential construction services can continue. Essential services include things like plumbing, HVAC, and electric services.
Emergency home repairs can also continue. New home construction can continue, in order to being new homes to the point where they are protected from the elements.
"What we do know is that repairs that are essential to the safety, sanitation, and operation of a home, those can keep going on,” said Home Builders Association of the Upper Peninsula’s Executive Officer, Sarah Schultz.
However, many contractors have had to stop projects and cancel future projects. Schultz says this is detrimental since construction plays a large role in the U.P.’s economy.
"It’s not just the builder. It might be the builder and then the supplier. If they're [the builder] not working they're not buying the supplies from somebody, they're not putting gas in their vehicles, they're not buying their lunch where they might if they were working that day. It's just a domino effect,” Schultz said.
Dan Perkins, president of Dan Perkins Construction, has had to lay off his entire 17-person staff.
"We’ve got our whole year booked. We’ve got $1.5 million worth of work to do here, and we're very concerned about our ability to get that done for our customers and for ourselves, of course,” Perkins said.
Perkins adds that his business is taking a huge financial hit during this time.
"My crews do roughly about $40,000 worth of work a week. So every week that goes by, that's another $40,000 worth of production that we've lost,” Perkins added.
To keep busy, Perkins and some his staff are making metal strips for masks. The Ishpeming Lions Club project with Perkins will then pass along the strips to local healthcare workers through the “Masks for Marquette” project.
"We volunteered to take that on for free, so we're making 50,000 quarter-inch by six-inch aluminum strip nose bands at our shop here and we should be done today, actually,” Perkins said.
Perkins will also be helping out his wife at Rare Earth Goods Café in Ishpeming. Due to restrictions on food establishments, Perkins’ wife had to lay off her staff as well for the time being.