Chicago construction workers sound alarm on COVID-19 concerns

While many jobs across the country have been put on hold, construction is not one of them.

The job is considered essential, but many workers are worried it's putting them at risk for COVID-19.

Josh Andersen is a construction worker who installs windows on some of Chicago's biggest high-rise projects.

"Some people are quitting. Yesterday at noon we had two guys walk off site. They had enough,” he said.

Andersen gave us pictures and video showing construction workers working in close quarters indoors, and cramming into elevators where there's supposed to be a limit of four.

"The skip operators aren't following those guidelines. They're allowing more people to come into the elevators to get people up quicker and these are 5 x 5 elevators and there's six, seven people cramming in there,” Andersen said.

The same concerns are being echoed from Dan Maloney, who lives in a condo building overlooking the new Cirrus development in Lakeshore East.

After he sent FOX 32 pictures showing construction workers shoulder to shoulder, we went for a look ourselves and found large groups of workers, most without masks, seemingly oblivious to the rules of social distancing.

"Honestly just a little frustration that big companies seem like they cannot follow the rules that everybody else is told they should be practicing,” Maloney said.

In his executive order mandating that most Illinois residents stay home, Governor JB Pritzker exempted the construction industry as a necessary business. But the state also ordered construction workers and companies to follow the COVID-19 guidelines set by the CDC.

The Chicago Federation of labor says construction workers are encouraged to report any violations or pressure on the job.

"I'm just trying to get answers. I don't feel safe there. I feel every day I come in I don't know who the threat is. And if I'm not protected how do I know I'm not bringing that home to the people I care about?" Andersen said.

MOBILE APP USERS: Watch Fox 32 News on the go by clicking here