The traditional smoko break for builders and construction workers at sites across Orange is the latest institution to be challenged by the coronavirus spread.
Workers have been told to keep a safe distance apart when they take breaks as part of safety measures builders hope will ensure work can continue.
Master Builders Central West president Mick Banks said it was vital workers on all construction sites, ranging from major projects to housing work, followed coronavirus guidelines.
There are a lot of nervous tradies out there.Mick Banks, president Master Builders Central West
"There has to be more stringent following of social distancing rules," he said.
He urged workers to look out for each other on sites and ensure they did not get too close to each where possible.
"If you see sub-contractors having a smoko and sitting next to each you need to [speak up]," he said.
The message was reinforced by a statement from a coalition of building unions and employer groups urging worker-safety this week.
"The united group stress the need to follow appropriate measures and guidelines which stipulate strict hygiene practices, social distancing and separation of workers on meal breaks, in addition to other measures, to ensure sites can be kept safe and stay open," it said.
Mr Banks said buildings sites were continuing to operate in Orange at this stage.
"They haven't been shut down yet," he said.
"[Though] there are a lot of nervous tradies out there."
Mr Banks said ensuring workers maintained coronavirus safety procedures might lead to projects taking longer to complete.
"Maybe the deadlines need to be pushed out a bit longer. Customers and tradies need to be a little more lenient," he said.
He said that might involve only one profession of tradies (plumbers, electricians, bricklayers etc] operating on a house site at the one time.
Mr Banks said building workers were the third biggest employee group in Australia and any shutdown of the industry due to the coronavirus would have a major impact on unemployment and the economy.
"There are a lot of young people in trades. Many have ute loans, home loans and young families," he said.
Mr Banks said many of them were also unaware of government financial assistance packages that are being made available to businesses and laid-off staff due to assist them through the coronavirus pandemic.
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