QUINCY, MASS. (WHDH) - Crews across the Bay State are hard at work preparing for Friday’s storm while also dealing with staffing shortages due to COVID-19.
“We had five test positive today. We’ve had four others that are out, so putting people behind the wheel is going to be an issue,” said Marshfield DPW Supt. Tom Reynolds.
Reynolds said that after several town employees tested positive for the virus, he’s concerned that private contractors may also call out sick ahead of the winter storm.
“It’s going to take longer to get things done. It also means some management people may have to get behind the wheel also,” he said. “It’s been done in the past and we’re prepared to do it again.”
Labor issues are currently an issue plaguing many industries, including contractors. Some towns are being forced to pay exorbitant rates for plow contractors.
However, in Scituate, town officials chose not to hike the contractor pay scale despite a 10 percent staffing shortage.
“We raised our rates slightly last year but we haven’t raised them this year in response to what’s going on, because then that just causes a bidding war,” said Scituate Town Administrator Jim Boudreau.
Although the Bay State has approximately 3,900 pieces of equipment for big storms, officials say Friday’s storm should only require around 1,000.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said it does not expect COVID-19 to cause any impactful staffing shortages during the storm, saying “the department is confident that it has plenty of equipment, staff and materials.”
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