Mandatory Directive for Construction Projects – PDF:
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*Please confirm that your facility and/or construction project jobsite may open
under the State Order. Where there is a difference between the local County Order and the State Order, the more
restrictive order must be followed. The State also has specific guidance for certain facilities that must be
followed in addition to this mandatory directive.*
Information on the State’s Order and State guidance is available at covid19.ca.gov.
Issued: July 7, 2020
Revised: October 13, 2020
On August 28, 2020, the State released its Blueprint for a Safer Economy (“Blueprint”), a statewide system of COVID-19 restrictions. Santa Clara County is currently in Tier Three (Orange) of the Blueprint.
Under the Blueprint, construction services may operate in Tier Three counties, including Santa Clara County. See the Statewide Public Health Officer Order here and the State’s Blueprint here. These businesses must follow the mandatory requirements in this Directive, the State and County Health Officer Orders, and the State’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance documents, including the State’s COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Construction available here.
While the construction industry is critical to ensuring a safe and sufficient supply of residential and commercial
space, construction work can also pose significant risks to public health due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Because construction projects typically involve many workers actively working on a jobsite at the same time,
often in close proximity to one another or sharing equipment, businesses and individuals performing and overseeing
construction projects must take extra precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for workers, visitors,
and others. This Directive applies to all construction projects, but the restrictions vary by the size
of the project, as specified below.
“Construction project” means any work (including a public works project) carried out in connection with the
construction, alteration, conversion, fitting-out, remodel, renovation, refurbishment, demolition, decommissioning,
or dismantling of a building or other structure; the preparation of a physical site for any such activity; and
education or training at which any such activity is taught through onsite practice or experience.
“Construction project” does not include architectural, design, financial, or administrative work related to a
construction project, unless that work occurs at the construction jobsite. “Construction project” also does
not include basic repair or maintenance work, which means a repair or maintenance job that requires no more than 2
workers and no more than 2 days, and that is not architecturally, financially, or administratively associated
with an active construction project.
This Directive explains how construction projects may operate. This Directive is mandatory, and failure to
follow it is a violation of the Health Officer’s Order issued on October 5, 2020 (“Order”). Construction projects must
comply with the Order and all requirements of this Directive.
The Order Issued October 5
The Order imposes several restrictions on all businesses and activities to ensure that the County stays as
safe as possible, including but not limited to the following:
- The Social Distancing Protocol: All businesses and governmental entities must fill out and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol within 14 days of the Order’s effective date. The Revised Social Distancing Protocol must be filled out using an updated template, which will be available here. The Protocol is submitted under
penalty of perjury, meaning that everything written on the form must be truthful and accurate to the best of the
signer’s knowledge, and submitting false information is a crime. The Protocol must be distributed to all
workers, and it must be accessible to all officials who are enforcing the Order. For any business that only performs services for dispersed facilities or worksites that
the business does not own or operate, the business must complete a Social Distancing Protocol for its operation
as a whole. For any business that has a facility, but also provides services at dispersed facilities or
worksites that the business does not own or operate, the business must complete a Social Distancing Protocol for
its own facility and provide that Protocol to the owners or operators of any facility where it operates.
- Example: A construction company serves as a subcontractor on various jobsites throughout the County and
also operates a base facility within the County, where it maintains its vehicles and equipment. The
subcontractor must complete a Social Distancing Protocol for its base facility. It must also
distribute the Protocol to the owners or operators of the jobsites to which it sends its workers.
The subcontractor’s workers must be given a copy of, be trained on, and comply with the measures
in both the subcontractor’s Social Distancing Protocol and the Social Distancing Protocol for any
jobsite at which they are performing work.
- Signage: All businesses and government entities must print (1) an updated COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social
Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet, and both must be posted prominently at all facility entrances.
These are available for printing after online submission of the Revised Social Distancing Protocol. The Revised Social Distancing Protocol specifies additional signage requirements.
- Businesses do not need to post these documents if they do not have their own facility or worksite and
only perform services for dispersed facilities or worksites that the business does not own or
- Face Coverings: Everyone must wear face coverings at all
times specified in the California Department of Public Health’s mandatory Guidance for the Use of Face Coverings (“Face Covering Guidance”) and in any specific directives issued by the County Health Officer. Further, even where not required under State or local guidance and orders, face coverings should be worn to the maximum extent possible (1) when indoors and not in one’s own residence and (2) whenever outdoors and within six feet of anyone outside one’s own household. Face coverings must be worn even while
working at a construction project unless if it would
create a risk to the person related to their work, in accordance with local, state, or federal workplace safety
- Capacity Limitation: All businesses must limit the number of people inside a facility at the same time ensure that everyone is able to maintain at least 6 feet of social distance from everyone outside their household at all times. This Directive describes a limited exception to the density
limitation applicable only to construction project jobsites.
See the Order and the FAQ page for more
In addition to these general requirements applicable to all businesses under the Order, construction projects must
comply with the following directives.
Construction Projects on Own Residence Exempted
This Directive does not apply to construction projects where a person is performing construction on their current
residence alone or solely with members of their own household.
Rules for Single-Worker Construction Projects
This section lists the requirements for construction projects performed by only 1 worker, such as someone who is
working alone on a kitchen remodel project. This section for single-worker projects does not apply to
construction projects that involve multiple workers, even if only 1 worker is at the jobsite at any time; those
projects must follow the Rules For All Construction Projects, which are listed in the next section.
- If the worker is working for a business, the worker must comply with the Social Distancing Protocol of that
- The worker must maintain 6 feet of social distance from all other people at all times, including when entering
and leaving the work area or building.
- The worker must use and properly wear face coverings. In addition, the worker must wear other personal
protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for use in construction, including gloves, goggles, and/or face shields.
- To the extent possible, the worker must seal off the work area so that there is a barrier between the worker and
any other people in the building. For example, a worker performing construction in the hallway of a residence
must install a barrier (such as plastic sheeting) between the area where the worker is working and the rest of
- The worker must frequently wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at
least 60% alcohol.
- The worker must not work or come to the jobsite if the worker has a fever, cough, or any other COVID-19
- The worker must maintain records of the dates and times the worker was at the jobsite and must make those
records immediately available upon request to any County official.
- If the worker tests positive for COVID-19, the worker must notify the County Public Health Department within 4
hours of learning of the positive result by following the instructions at www.sccsafeworkplace.org.
Rules for All Construction Projects (Except Single-Worker Construction
This section lists requirements for all construction projects (other than single-worker construction projects).
*Note: Large Construction Projects must also follow additional requirements, which are described beginning on page
- Responsibilities of the General Contractor and Subcontractors
- The business with the responsibility to oversee a construction project, described in this Directive as
the “General Contractor,” must complete and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol specific
to the construction project jobsite. (The General Contractor may also need to submit social distancing
protocols for its base facility or for other jobsites subject to this Directive.)
- The General Contractor is responsible for ensuring that all work and operations at the construction
jobsite is performed in compliance with the Order, this Directive, and the jobsite-specific Revised Social
- The General Contractor must train its workers to comply with the Order, this Directive, and the
jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing Protocol.
- Subcontractors do not need to submit their own jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing Protocols for the same
site, but the General Contractor must not allow any subcontractor onto the jobsite unless that
subcontractor has given the General Contractor a signed certification that:
- the subcontractor has reviewed the Order and this Directive and will comply with them;
- the subcontractor has reviewed the General Contractor’s jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing
Protocol and trained its workers on that Protocol; and
- the subcontractor has completed and submitted its own Revised Social Distancing Protocol covering its
operations, and has provided a copy of that Protocol to the General Contractor.
- General Contractors and Subcontractors Must Report COVID-19 Positive Cases
- Whenever the General Contractor learns that a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 was at the
jobsite within 48 hours of the date they were tested or within 48 hours of becoming symptomatic, the
General Contractor must immediately implement the jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing Protocol’s
procedures for when a person tests positive for COVID-19. All positive cases must be reported by
following the instructions at www.sccsafeworkplace.org.
- All subcontractors must immediately (within 1 hour, regardless of the time of day) alert the General
Contractor as soon as they learn that an employee has tested positive who is currently at the jobsite,
or who was at the jobsite within 48 hours of the date they were tested or within 48 hours of becoming
symptomatic. This reporting requirement is in addition to the subcontractor’s own reporting requirements
under the Order and the procedures in the subcontractor’s Revised Social Distancing Protocol.
- Cleaning After Positive Case Identified
Upon learning of a confirmed positive case at the jobsite
within the last 48 hours, any location where the infected worker was known to have been present must be
immediately closed and sanitized. Work in these locations must cease until sanitization is complete.
- General Contractor is Responsible for Ensuring the Jobsite is Operated Safely Following All Legal
- The General Contractor must ensure that everyone at the jobsite—including its own workers, the
subcontractors’ workers, and visitors—complies with the Order, this Directive, the jobsite-specific
Revised Social Distancing Protocol, and any other laws and regulations that apply to the work (for example, OSHA
and Cal-OSHA requirements). If there is a conflict in what different laws require, the strictest
- The General Contractor’s responsibility for ensuring jobsite compliance under this paragraph 4 does not,
however, relieve any subcontractors of their own responsibilities under the Order, their Revised Social
Distancing Protocol, this Directive, and all other applicable laws and regulations.
- Any worker, or any subcontractor, may file a complaint that the General Contractor has not complied with
the Order, this Directive, or the jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing Protocol, or that the General
Contractor has failed to require others to comply. Complaints may be filed at www.sccCOVIDconcerns.org or by calling the County Office of Labor Standards Enforcement Advice Line at 866-870-7725.
- Designated COVID-19 Supervisor(s)
- The General Contractor must designate a site-specific COVID-19 Supervisor or Supervisors to enforce the
jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing Protocol and this Directive. The designated COVID-19 Supervisor(s)
must be present at the jobsite at all times during construction activities. The COVID-19
Supervisor may be an on-site worker who is designated to serve in this role. The General
Contractor must prominently post a sign at all entrances to the jobsite clearly identifying the COVID-19
Supervisor(s) by name and providing their phone number and email address.
- The designated COVID-19 Supervisor(s) must review this Directive and the jobsite-specific Revised Social
Distancing Protocol with all workers and other persons at the jobsite. The General Contractor is
responsible for making sure this occurs.
- The COVID-19 Supervisor must monitor and ensure implementation at the jobsite of all requirements in
this Directive, the jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing Protocol, and the Order.
- Seal Off Area of Construction Project from Other Parts of Occupied Sites
Where construction work
occurs within an occupied residential or commercial building, all of the following rules apply:
- Work areas must, to the extent feasible, be sealed off from the remainder of the building (and from the
remainder of the unit, if work is performed within a residential unit) with physical barriers such as
plastic sheeting or closed doors sealed with tape.
- If possible, workers must access the work area from entry/exit door(s) different from the entry/exit
door(s) used by residents or occupants accessing the remainder of the building that is not under
- Available windows and/or doors must be used to ventilate the work area during the workday and any other
times work is performed.
- If residents or occupants have access to the work area between workdays, the work area must be cleaned
and sanitized at the beginning and at the end of workdays.
- Every effort must be taken to minimize contact between workers and residents or occupants, including
maintaining a minimum of at least 6 feet of social distance at all times.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The General Contractor must obtain, provide at no cost to
workers, and require that all workers use personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for use in
construction, including gloves, goggles, face shields, and face coverings as appropriate for the activity being
performed. Face coverings must be worn in compliance with the State’s Face Covering Guidance
for the Use of Face Coverings and any additional directives issued by the County Health Officer.
At no time may medical-grade PPE be used at a construction site unless it is required due to the medical nature
of the jobsite or local, state, or federal workplace safety requirements.
- Social Distancing and other Measures
- The General Contractor must:
Ensure that workers are able to maintain at least 6 feet social distance at all times, except as strictly and temporarily necessary to safely carry out a specific job
- This may require staggering shifts, breaks, and trade-specific work as necessary to reduce density and allow for
easy maintenance of at least 6 feet of social distancing. Staggered shifts and breaks must comply with
applicable wage and hour laws.
- Eliminate or resolve “choke points” and “high-risk areas” where workers are unable to maintain
at least 6 feat of social distance. The General Contractor must prohibit or limit use of these areas to
ensure that 6 feet of social distance can easily be maintained between individuals.
- If possible, ensure workers eat their meals and take their breaks outdoors, and maintain social
distancing during meals and breaks.
- Prohibit gatherings of any size on the jobsite (except for meetings required by this Directive),
including gatherings for breaks or eating. Sharing of any food or beverage is strictly
- Cal-OSHA requires employers to provide water. Water must be provided in single-serve containers.
- Prohibit use of microwaves, water coolers, and other similar shared equipment.
- Workers must:
- Unless strictly necessary to carry out a job function, maintain at all times at least 6 feet of social distance at all times from fellow workers and all site visitors, including delivery workers, design
professionals and other project consultants, government agency representatives (including
building and fire inspectors), and residents at residential construction sites.
- Not carpool to and from the jobsite except with others living within the same household, or
if necessary because they have no alternative means of transportation. If workers from different
households must carpool, they must wear face coverings while riding together in the same
vehicle, sit at the greatest distance possible, and maintain ventilation by keeping windows open
- Notice for Workers and Visitors of Required Practices
The General Contractor must prominently post a
notice at all entrances to the jobsite visible to all workers and visitors instructing workers and visitors to
do the following:
- Do not touch your face with unwashed hands or with gloves.
- If equipment is shared, it must be fully sanitized before and after each use.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time, or use hand sanitizer with
at least 60% alcohol.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch often, such as work stations, keyboards, telephones,
handrails, machines, shared tools, elevator control buttons, and doorknobs.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or cloth when you cough or sneeze, or cough or sneeze into your
elbow/sleeve – never into your hands.
- Do not enter the jobsite if you have a fever, cough, or other COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel sick, or
have been exposed to anyone who is sick, stay at home.
- Constantly make sure you are staying at least 6 feet away from co-workers at all times, unless it is
absolutely necessary to get closer to safely complete a task for the construction project.
- Do not carpool to and from the jobsite with anyone except members of your own household, or if necessary
because you have no alternative means of transportation. If you carpool with people from another
household, you must wear a face covering while riding together in the same vehicle.
- Do not share phones or PPE.
Posters conforming to this requirement are available for download at https://www.sccgov.org/sites/covid19/Pages/learn-what-to-do-flyers.aspx.
- Cooperate with County’s Case Investigation and Contact Tracing Efforts
The General Contractor must
maintain a daily attendance log of all workers and visitors at the jobsite that includes contact information
(including name, phone number, address, and email) and the date, time, and duration of each person’s presence at
the jobsite. If someone on the jobsite tests positive for COVID-19, the General Contractor is legally
required to assist the County Public Health Department in any
case investigation and contact tracing efforts.
- Monitor and Inform Supervisors and Subcontractors of Revised Requirements
The General Contractor
must regularly check for revisions to the Order, this Directive, relevant industry-specific guidance published
by the California Department of Public Health, and other relevant rules or guidance. The General
Contractor must inform all jobsite supervisors (including the designated COVID-19 Supervisor(s), all field
supervisors, forepersons, and safety directors) and all subcontractors of any revisions or additions to the
requirements for construction projects.
Additional Rules for Large Construction Projects
This section describes additional requirements that apply only to Large Construction Projects.
- What is a Large Construction Project?
A “Large Construction Project” is a construction project
that meets any of the following specifications:
- For residential projects, any single-family, multi-family, senior, student, or other residential
construction project consisting of 10 or more units;
- For commercial projects, any construction project consisting of 20,000 or more square feet of floor
- For mixed-use construction projects, any construction project that meets either of the specifications
above in Subparagraphs (a) and (b); or
- Any infrastructure project that requires 20 or more workers at the jobsite at any one time.
- COVID-19 Supervisor’s Additional Compliance, Monitoring, and Remediation Responsibilities
- The designated COVID-19 Supervisor must:
- Conduct daily briefings in person (with proper social distancing) or by teleconference that must
cover the following topics:
- New jobsite rules and pre-jobsite travel restrictions for the prevention of COVID-19
- Review of sanitizing and hygiene procedures.
- Worker feedback on improving safety and sanitizing.
- Coordination of construction site daily cleaning/sanitization requirements.
- Any newly available information regarding COVID-19.
- Emergency protocols in the event of an exposure or suspected exposure to COVID-19.
- Each day, verify and record verification that each jobsite is compliant with this Directive. The
General Contractor must collect each written verification, store them for at least 1 year, and
make them immediately available upon request to any County official.
- Conduct the following activities to make sure that the jobsite is ready to fix any violations of
- Develop a remediation plan;
- If any non-compliance is identified, ensure that the remediation plan is implemented,
and post the remediation plan at all entrances to the jobsite during the remediation
- Stop any construction activity until the jobsite is back in compliance; and
- Report repeated non-compliance with this Directive to the appropriate jobsite
supervisors and the permitting agency for the local government where the project is
- The General Contractor is responsible for making sure the designated COVID-19 Supervisor takes all of
- Jobsite Safety Accountability Supervisor (JSAS)
The General Contractor must assign a COVID-19
Third-Party Jobsite Safety Accountability Supervisor (JSAS) for the jobsite. The JSAS may not be an
employee of the General Contractor. The JSAS must at a minimum hold an OSHA-30 certificate and first-aid
training, or equivalent credentials, from within the past 2 years. The JSAS must be trained in the requirements
in this Directive and the jobsite-specific Social Distancing Protocol and must verify compliance with those
requirements, including by visual inspection and random interviews with workers. The JSAS must inspect the
jobsite as often as needed to ensure consistent compliance, but not less than once per week. The JSAS must
inspect the jobsite during normal construction hours.
- The General Contractor must prominently post a sign at all entrances to the jobsite visible to all
workers and visitors that clearly identifies the JSAS for the jobsite by name and providing their phone
number and email address.
- Within 7 calendar days of each jobsite visit, the JSAS must complete a written assessment identifying
any failure to comply with this Directive. The written assessment must be copied, stored, and, produced
upon request to the County or local permitting agency.
- If the JSAS discovers that a jobsite is not in compliance with this Directive and the jobsite-specific
Revised Social Distancing Protocol, the JSAS must work with the designated COVID-19 Supervisor to develop and
implement a remediation plan.
- The JSAS must coordinate with the designated COVID-19 Supervisor to prohibit continuation of any work
activity not in compliance with this Directive or the jobsite-specific Revised Social Distancing Protocol. The
JSAS must make sure that the work activity does not resume until the noncompliance is fixed and the
continuing work is compliant with this Directive.
- The remediation plan must be sent to the local permitting agency and a designated County official within
5 calendar days of the JSAS’s discovery of the failure to comply.
- Translation for Non-English-Speaking Workers
The General Contractor must translate (and, where otherwise
required, post) all of the following documents as necessary to ensure that all non-English-speaking workers are
able to understand the documents:
- The Notice for Workers and Visitors of Required Practices described in Paragraph 9 (on page 8).
- The remediation plan described in Paragraph 13.a.iii.1 (on page 11).
For answers to frequently asked questions about this industry and other topics, please see the FAQ page.
Please note that this Directive may be updated. For up-to-date
information on the Health Officer Order, visit the County Public Health Department’s website at www.sccgov.org/coronavirus.