Similar to many states in the Mid-Atlantic and New England region, California has designated the LBM industry as “essential” during the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order on March 19 ordering all non-essential businesses to close, but did not specifically mention the LBM industry in the order, according to the West Coast Lumber and Building Material Association (WCLBMA). The executive order was later amended to clarify construction businesses were included as essential.

Social distancing will become increasingly important for businesses in the LBM industry remaining open as the COVID-19 situation evolves. Many dealers are already limiting physical interactions with customers as much as possible. ABC Supply, for example, is limiting access to stores to ABC personnel only and will stage deliveries for pickup in its yards to limit traffic inside facilities.

In line with these practices, the WCLBMA is sharing several social distancing best practices for LBM dealers to promote health and safety while remaining open for business. These best practices include:

● removing all customer or visitor chairs at the sit-down workstations; ● marking floors with tape and chairs pulled back to maintain six feet of separation between employees and customers and customers and salespeople;
● cleaning pens after each use at all counters;
● mandating all employees maintain a distance of six feet from one another at all times;
● forgoing signatures for deliveries; and
● checking stock of gloves, sanitizer, wipes, and other related items regularly and providing them to employees and customers as available.

The WCLBMA has a dedicated webpage for COVID-19 that includes daily updates on news, regulations, and best practices. WCLBMA has more than 325 members in more than 20 states and Canada and offers lobbying and government affairs services in California, Nevada, and at the federal government level.