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Experts: Construction Work Key To Economic Relief, But Not Immune To Effects Of Pandemic

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Coronavirus has brought some businesses to a full stop, but for construction workers, it's full speed ahead.

Experts think their work could be a key cushion for the local economy once things start to reopen

Large, multi-billion-dollar projects happening in Sacramento will bring jobs and lots of cash to the city amid tough times. Construction work has been deemed essential, but it's not immune from the effects of this pandemic.

"The more momentum we have right now that we can do safely, the better our recovery is going to be," said Greater Sacramento Economic Council CEO Barry Broome.

Broome expects multi-million-dollar projects to continue on schedule amid the pandemic. Those projects include the new major league soccer stadium and Kaiser Permanente Hospital.

However, smaller projects face two obstacles that cause big slowdowns: lack of access to supplies and construction loans.

The city said requests for permits in Sacramento have declined amid coronavirus slowdowns.

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"If you're requiring a construction loan right now, those are tough to get. We basically absorbed our banking system for three weeks pushing SBA loans out," Broome said.

But local governments are getting more efficient to try and help.

Placer County saw a 10% increase in the number of people applying for building permits last month thanks to an easier, all-online process.

"We actually have two new affordable housing projects in Placer County that are going to get started. Those are moving through the development stages now," said Tim Wegner with the Community Development Resource Agency Placer County.

Both Sacramento and Placer county now offer virtual building inspections. You can call into Skype and have your building reviewed over the phone.

Broome said efficiency like this will help the economy get through coronavirus

"My hope is with the curve being bent it's time for us to start to have the conversation when are we going to get to go back to work," Broome said.

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