COVID-19: A Real Live Project to Examine its Impact on the Construction Activity in Chania
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in unprecedented impacts and challenges for the construction and engineering sector in the island of Crete, Greece. Nowadays, there’s no end to published opinions and articles about construction project shutdowns, development delays and supply chain bottlenecks.
Moreover, the employment impacts of COVID-19 are deep and unparalleled in scale. Crete’s economy relies heavily on international tourism and in the current crisis, employment has been dramatically affected directly as a result
of the strict lockdown measures, border closures, travel restrictions and the related uncertainty of the virus.
Furthermore, the production losses for many small, medium and family-running businesses in Crete are also likely to be
devastating and long-lasting. Some had wondered why some construction projects were still operated in Chania, Rethymnon or Heraklion. The reason is that not all construction workplaces are the same. The circumstances in every island in the Aegean or the Ionian Sea and in the mainland differ. The goal of ending the pandemic may prevail in many places and some construction activity may have to stop.
Yet, some projects are still running. Is it anything like the way things were before the pandemic? Not even close.
Continuing to work under tough new safety requirements and social distancing measures will lead to conflicts, for contractors and supervisors especially. We are collectively in a situation in which we have no experience and for which we have limited preparation. However, our prime responsibility and the most important priority is to keep things running smoothly and provide a safe workplace for our employees, clients and associates.
For this extraordinary effort, I want to thank our employees, associates, our clients for their trust and understanding and, most of all, our contractors. Many of those still working, are at the frontline of making your project come true in Crete, Many of those still working, especially our contractors in Apokoronas, Akrotiri and Kissamos, are at the frontline, making sure that your project will finish on time.
Caution Will be the Watchword
As long as the coronavirus remains a hazard, caution will be the watchword. Proceeding slowly is the only way to get the construction sector in Crete starting again without putting employees’ lives at risk. In Greece the authorities responded with the earliest and one of the world’s strictest stay-at-home orders and the majority of the residents remained in their homes for five weeks.
Greece has remarkably outperformed other countries in its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. To date, Greece has recorded 2,517 coronavirus cases and 134 deaths from a population of 11 million. Crete, has reported no coronavirus cases for the third week in a row. As trite as it may seem until an effective treatment or vaccine is developed to manage the virus and its effects in our economies the only “antidotes” are calm, cooperation, synergistic relations, knowledge sharing and reliable information.
At a time when the common good becomes dominant and the only entity large enough to accommodate that good is solidarity, we are left with that paramount feeling that better days are certainly on the way.
We Keep your People, Facilities, and Business Safe
The plunge is putting Crete’s tourism industry, real estate investments and construction activity at risk. Moreover, the health and safety risks of COVID-19 vary from project to project and to comply with the new health and safety precautions requires synergistic relations with medical, scientific and government guidelines to provide a safe working environment.
At the time of writing, the majority of our construction sites in Akrotiri, Kisamos, and Apokoronas have maintained the status quo with low impact so far. We have not experienced of any significant defaults on progress payments or cancellation of contracts in progress so far.