Workers on the SoFi Stadium project in Inglewood, California have questioned whether construction should be continuing amid the COVID-19 outbreak, with one individual on the site having tested positive for the virus over the weekend.
The 70,000-seat stadium, which will serve as the home of the Rams and Chargers NFL teams, is due to open in July with two Taylor Swift concerts.
Work is continuing on the construction site, with Inglewood Mayor James Butts confirming last week that social distancing measures and handwashing sites had been put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
One iron worker tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend and others working on the site have expressed their unease at the situation.
Around 3,000 people, including electricians, painters and crane operators, are estimated to be working on the project. The Los Angeles Times interviewed six workers on the condition of anonymity and while they were thankful for work given COVID-19-related job losses across the country, they questioned whether they should be on site.
One worker, speaking before news broke of the positive test, told the Times: “If our safety was the most important thing, they wouldn’t have us out here. Everybody is talking about it. Your focus isn’t 100 per cent on your work. You have that in the back of your head … We feel like we’re invisible.”
An electrician added: “If they want to get the stadium done, they need to provide something to minimise the risk of exposing anyone. It doesn’t take much to realise how big this (problem) could be.”
Californians have been ordered to stay at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 since March 19 but construction projects do not apply on the basis that they are critical infrastructure.
Work is also continuing on the NFL’s other new venue due to open this summer, Allegiant Stadium, which will serve as the home of the Las Vegas Raiders. A worker on the Allegiant Stadium site also tested positive for COVID-19 last week and while people have been reminded of the need to follow safety guidelines, there has been no instructions to halt construction.
On the east coast, work on a new arena for the New York Islanders NHL ice hockey team has already been halted due to the pandemic after Governor Andrew Cuomo expanded his temporary shutdown of non-essential projects.
Image: SoFi Stadium