SALT LAKE CITY— The man in charge of building the new Salt Lake International Airport says after the virus hit the crew became an example of how to work through it. Program Director of Airport Development, Mike Williams, says the county actually came by to see how they were doing it.
“The Salt Lake County Health Department dropped by 3 times to really understand what we were doing. We were, really, the exception to the rule.” Williams said he and his team at the airport started enforcing CDC and WHO measures right after the virus hit.
“We needed to react quickly because we needed to build confidence in the trade contracting community that this is a safe place to work.” He says in March his team sat down to come up with specific ways to implement what health experts said had to happen.
It worked gangbusters… least for a while. Williams says at their peak the airport was employing 1950 workers. And from March until July, they had only 7 positive COVID 19 cases. Then the July 4th holiday hit.
The numbers started jumping after Independence Day gatherings and get-togethers.
“We went from 7 to having 75 [positive cases],” says Williams. He notes that the vast majority of these came away from the project. Williams and his team reminded workers “if you’re sick don’t come to work” and that they need to practice the same precautions at home as they do on the job site if they want to continue.
Williams says workers responded. “The trade workers really wanted to work, they really wanted to be here, and they realized there was a direct correlation between doing the right thing and not doing the right thing.”
Speaking with Williams last week, he says they still have 1300 workers employed… only 5 active cases of the virus.
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