• Tritec News

As businesses reopen, workers face a new challenge: getting in the door

At the construction site of The Wel, a 260-unit apartment project in Lindenhurst, about 140 workers arrive in shifts at 6:30, 7 and 7:30 a.m. to maintain social distancing. 

"They line up 6 feet apart when they come in," said James L. Coughlan, principal and co-founder of Tritec Real Estate Company Inc., an East Setauket developer. 

Richard "Rick" Parente, president of B&R Mechanical Inc., a Bellport electrical contractor, is among those who go through the screening tent at the site. 

"You have to sanitize your hands," he said. "You fill out a form that you didn't have COVID or any symptoms." 

After each worker's identity is verified, "they take your temperature every single day you walk onto the property," he said. 

Masks have joined hard hats and boots in the uniform of the construction trades, Parente said. 

Masks are hot and some workers protested, but he said, it's a matter of survival. 

"They don't love to wear them," he said, but "this is the protocol that's here until things change and the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] tells us differently," he said. "Everybody needs to work and feed their families." 

In addition to the conventional screening and precautions at the $110 million project, Tritec has added a high-tech tracking device that attaches to hard hats. 

The devices sound an alert when wearers get too close to each other, but also aid in contact tracing. Should a worker come down with COVID-19 symptoms, a manager can get a report on who they encountered during work hours to limit the potential spread. 

"If someone does become sick, we can look back at where they were and who they were near," Coughlan said.