Four MainStreet Carpenters Give Insightful, Personal Video Interviews on the Effects of the Pandemic on Their Jobs & Clients

There’s no question that the lifestyle changes, shaped by the pandemic, have changed the way we look at home design. According to a recent remodeling magazine on The Future of Home Design, homeowners now “must embrace and redefine [their] homes as spaces of both learning and living, productivity and play, form and function.”

While homeowner needs have changed, so too have home remodeling contractors and design-build firms like MainStreet. In particular, we’ve had to adopt new policies, job site protective measures, and workflows to operate safely—and legally—during this health crisis.

Here’s an inside perspective from four (4) MainStreet Carpenters on how COVID-19 has impacted their lives on the job so far.

Kyle Rich, Carpenter

Q: You guys got the news that you would have to work differently last March, then all of our jobs were shut down for two and half months, and you guys had to come back and figure out how to work in a completely new environment. How has that been for you and what kind of takeaways do you have?

A: It hasn’t been too bad. It’s a lot cleaner job site now. Instead of running in and out of porta-potties, now we have a sink which is kind of nice. Wearing a mask isn’t too bad. You can make funny faces behind it and no one will notice. [laughing]

Q: Is it getting a little bit easier to have the mask on? Are you more used to it, or is it still pretty difficult?

A: It’s a little easier. You get used to it. It makes it hard to breathe when you’re running around for eight hours. But, it’s not too bad. It’s worth it.

Q: Are you guys able to take some breaks and take the masks off?

A: Ya, we can take a little break and go outside, hang out, clear our heads, come back in, and hit it hard.

Q: What kind of things are you doing on the job site to make sure that your crew is staying healthy and you’re keeping the clients safe?

A: We sign a form on the job site every morning. It has a list of standard questions (certain symptoms) that we have to verify. During the day we’re washing our hands and disinfecting everything. At the end of the day, we have a checklist we go through to clean up everything—we go through to make sure everything is tight.

Christine’s shares her heartfelt thanks:

We know this has added a lot of work to your day. It’s already a tough day for you guys because you’re hands-on in the cold or hot weather. We just want to say how much we appreciate you and all the extra work you’ve taken on. As a front-line worker, construction workers don’t get in the paper. Their names are not really talked about, but you guys have been on the front lines dealing with this in people’s homes every single day.

A: It is a little nervous to go into new people’s homes every day, but it’s not too bad and we’re as safe as possible.

Marq Dains, Carpenter

Q: What has it been like for you on the frontline as a carpenter, particularly with a wife who works in healthcare? What has the last year has been like for you and how you kept your sanity and felt safe?

A: I think that with anything negative that happens, there is always something positive that can come out of it, even with past pandemics or epidemics that this country or other countries have had. I think what I have learned is to be more careful of what I’m doing out there in the way of not only keeping what I’m working on clean and organized but just sanitizing my hands more.

As the “wrap-up guy” I’ve learned to be more careful with how I’m leaving a job – keeping it more clean, shop vacuuming, cleaning more, wiping things down – it forces me to be a little more particular in what I do.

Christine’s shares her heartfelt thanks:

You’ve kept super positive during all this, especially having a son who is doing school online and a wife in healthcare. We want you to know how much we appreciate you this year. And, we are really grateful that you’re looking at the positive side of things.

Dave Stephens, Carpenter

Q: One of our project carpenters, it’s been quite a year. We started out last year that we were going to start dealing with COVID, shut down for two and a half months, and new reality in front of you. What would you say in the last nine and a half months of working jobs has been the most beneficial thing working through job sites safety and security measures?

A: Ya, all things considered, I pretty safe at work. MainStreet has gone through a lot of awesome ideas to make sure that we’re all safe and clients feel good and safe. The hand =washing stations are clutch cause we walk in first thing we do is wash our hands the QR Code for contract tracing that really helps if someone were to come down with COVID we can trace it back and protect everybody. The masks and hand sanitizer they supply us with. Even little things like having a porta john (a separate bathroom for us and the clients) – all of those little things add up and count – make things a lot easier on us and the client as well.

Q: Do you think, knowing what you know now, that it’s been a little easier overall or has it been completely difficult all the way through?

A: The first couple of weeks, I’m not going to lie, was overwhelming — put the mask on, wash your hands, check-in, check out, wipe this down, wipe that down, don’t share tools—with all the rules, there was a lot at once. But, then it’s weird to think we ever did it another way. It feels super normal, natural and life in a COVID world now. It’s kind of sad, but as even as human beings, we all adapt.

Christine’s shares her heartfelt thanks:

You guys have been so great. Everybody here at MainStreet really appreciates you, especially you guys that are right on the front line. Talk about front-line workers, you are out and about every single day. We really appreciate you. Thanks so much.

Eric Rito, Carpenter

Q: It’s been a year since COVID started and you’ve been working on the front line. Can you give me a little insight into what you think has been the best resource for you or the best takeaway from this past year in working through COVID?

A: I’d have to say one main thing is just having the great clients that we do have, and then working with us when we come in—they put their masks on as we do (we always have our masks on while we work). Another big one is the containment setup that we do. The first thing is coming into customer houses and setting up dust protection as well as floor protection. We show that we do care about their house as well as ourselves too by wearing our masks and keeping ourselves clean on the job sites.

Q: It’s been a lot of extra work for you guys. It takes time out of your day in the morning and time out of your day in the evening. How do you adjust to that?

A: Just knowing that we need to keep everything clean. We have a good half hour at the end of the day to make sure things are wiped down and stuff is vacuumed up…to make sure that we don’t get any COVID and transfer it to anyone else.

Christine’s shares her heartfelt thanks:

You guys have been working so hard on this. We really appreciate it. We wanted to take time out today to say thank you, and really acknowledge that you guys are on the front line and just putting yourselves out there. So, thank you so much for the hard work you’ve been doing.

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