Sean Vickery, of GJ Gardner Homes, was among many in the building industry on the phone all day Saturday following the NSW Premier's announcement that all construction will stop in Wollongong and Shellharbour from 12.01am on Monday.
Mr Vickery said the announcement about construction and non critical retail stopping until July 30 did not come as a complete shock but it will have a dramatic impact not only in his workforce but many clients and subcontractors.
"The thought crossed my mind late last week that we maybe shutting down in the near future so I was revising my COVID plan from late last year," he said.
"So the announcement wasn't a total surprise.
"I am rallying the troops at the moment. All of my supervisors are heading around building sites and making them secure. We are trying to lock up whatever we can. Security is a real worry for me. I have multiple sites with valuable gear onsite. I am really worried about theft increasing on those building sites."
Safely securing sites in the strong winds on Saturday was also a challenge.
Mr Vickery said it was really important to look after his people and his clients this week.
"I have clients who won't be able to move into their new homes," he said.
"I am busy making those calls to say unfortunately I can't finish off their home. So their handover will have to be pushed out."
Mr Vickery believes he can continue work on GJ Gardner building sites in Kiama and the Shoalhaven. But that too is confusing.
"At the moment there is no clear guideline on whether or not I can have a trade from the Wollongong area continue to be COVID tested, as per the latest advice, and then leave the area to work on my construction sites in the Shoalhaven and Kiama local government area," he said.
"I have supervisors who live in Wollongong and work in the Shoalhaven as well as excavators, carpenters and bricklayers. It is still a little bit unclear. I am trying hard to get that information.
"It could mean this announcement not only affects Wollongong and Shellharbour construction sites. But affect sites right down the coast if they workers are not allowed to leave their own local government area.
"My phone has been alight all day from contractors worrying about whether they can or can't work. And what that means for them and their families.
"I have 45 direct staff and hundreds of subcontractors. Just the uncertainty going forward is worrying for everyone.
"But there are a lot of people worse off than us and we have got to try and get a handle on this thing before it gets our of control and a lot of people lose their lives."
Mr Vickery said unfortunately Saturday's construction announcement will probably affect the Convoy House if if is extended beyond July 30..
"I am fairly confident if this Public Health Order only lasts two weeks that we have the ability to stick to the program there in terms of when we are looking to auction the house off for charity later this year," he said.
"But if goes beyond two weeks that will have an impact on time-frames."
Kiama MP Gareth Ward said a major construction sites impacted will be the Albion Park Rail bypass.
He said the lockdown will have a huge impact not only on the time frame for its completion but a large local workforce.
"70 per cent of the people working on the Albion Park Rail Bypass are actually local workers," he said.
Mr Ward can understand why workers from Sydney, where positive cases of COVID-19 have occurred, should not be allowed to work on the site.
"But given the majority of workers are local, it is my view those workers should be allowed to continue the project," he said.
"Unfortunately because of the decision that has been taken, that project will be suspended along with all manner of construction work across the state right through to minor maintenance jobs."
Mr Ward was expecting the bypass to be fully opened later this year. But said if the latest restriction on construction extends beyond July 30 that could be pushed back to early 2022.
However the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade and construction of the Nowra Bridge can continue.
Among those feeling the downstream impact of the construction decision is Chance Hanlon, of Shoalhaven business Hanlon Windows.
"We manufacture at Bomaderry and have showrooms at Dramoyne and Oak Flats," he said.
"70 per cent of what we manufacture goes outside the Shoalhaven.
"We have had the Dramoyne showroom closed for the last three weeks. Oak Flats has been open and we were adhering to the COVID rules.
"The problem for us now is that with construction sites now closed we have to stop manufacturing for the next two weeks. The big question now is what do we do with the staff."
Mr Hanlon is hoping that despite them living and working outside Greater Sydney they will still be eligible for government assistance for loss of working hours.
"We had been so busy we put on another 10 people since the start of COVID and many have regularly been working overtime," he said.
"We were working again this morning to try and get our Sydney trucks ready for Monday. But now suddenly that is all over."
If that wasn't enough of a challenge Mr Hanlon's daughter had a baby at 3am on Saturday in Wollongong Hospital.
"They live at Albion Park. She works for me and has been in lockdown for two or three weeks and the sad part is we can't see the baby," he said.
"My son-n-law can't see it either. And he couldn't be in there when she had the caesarean because at the moment they don't let anyone in the operating theatre."
Keira MP Ryan Park described Saturday as perhaps the most challenging day yet during the present lockdown.
"The tougher restrictions for Illawarra residents are going to be extremely challenging for workers, small business and vulnerable people right across the community," he said.
"It's a very difficult time for Illawarra retailers and our local construction industry. The community of south west Sydney has been hit really hard by this deadly virus and I know that many Illawarra locals work and operate businesses in that growing part of Sydney.
"Clearly the virus is moving through the community faster than the Government initially thought. We all have a responsibility to try and get out of this lockdown as soon as we can. Lives and livelihoods are relying on it.
"The faster we get out, the faster we can get business open, people back to work and families getting on with their lives.
"My priority now is to make sure support and assistance gets to workers and small business owners as soon as possible. I encourage people to contact me should you need any advice or assistance at this very difficult time."
Mr Park urged Illawarra residents to regularly check the NSW Health website for updates on potential infectious sites and to make contact with Service NSW regarding financial assistance.
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