LOS ANGELES -- Despite California governor Gavin Newsom issuing a statewide stay-at-home order to slow the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak on Thursday, construction of SoFi Stadium, the new home of the Chargers and Rams in 2020, will continue with only essential workers onsite.
"These are unprecedented times, and the health and safety of our workers and their families is of the utmost importance to us," read a memo obtained by Sports Illustrated. "In accordance with the recently released directives by the State of California, the County of Los Angeles and the City of Inglewood, as outlined in the attached materials, the construction at Hollywood Park continues moving forward, with an increased emphasis on the already existing elevated health and safety protocols put in place last week."
The attachment includes a list of standard health and safety guidelines, including to avoid those who have fallen ill, keeping six feet or more from coworkers, and regular hand washing. It also states that "if these guidelines cannot be met and a project is in tight quarters, consideration should be given to shutting the construction project down until safer conditions exist."
The memo also calls for many to work from home:
"All non-essential workers are working from home. For those that wish to remain on-site, we are working with our general contractors, including Turner AECOM Hunt, to increase the health and safety measures we already have in place. These are detailed in the attached memo from Turner AECOM Hunt."
Since the stay-at-home order went into effect at 11:59 p.m. PT Thursday, any business not deemed essential has suspended operations and public gathering spaces have closed. That includes malls, clubs, playgrounds, and other common meeting places allowed to remain open in the wake of previous restrictions put in place in response to the ongoing viral pandemic. At the time Newsom announced the order, officials for the SoFi Stadium construction did not know whether work could continue. The project reached the 85% completion threshold in January.
SoFi Stadium broke ground in November 2016. Construction has already endured delays, with heavy rainfall in 2017 pushing back the NFL debut a full year. It remains unclear whether the reduction in onsite workforce will force additional delays or cancellations. At present, pop star Taylor Swift plans to perform at SoFi Stadium on July 25, the first public event scheduled at the venue.
The NFL has not announced any contingency plans for the Chargers and Rams if the stadium is not finished in time for the 2020 season. The Raiders are facing the same race-the-clock issue in Las Vegas.
-- Jason B. Hirschhorn is an award-winning sports journalist and Pro Football Writers of America member. Follow him on Twitter: @by_JBH