Work continues at the St. Pete Pier, even as fears of the coronavirus mount

Contractor Skanska USA Building issues a zero-tolerance mandate for any worker exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms
A sunrise look at work as it continues on the new St. Pete Pier, scheduled to open on May 30.
A sunrise look at work as it continues on the new St. Pete Pier, scheduled to open on May 30. [ DIRK SHADD | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published March 23, 2020|Updated March 24, 2020

ST. PETERSBURG — The Summer Olympics will be postponed because of the coronavirus, but there’s no talk so far about delaying a lesser known, but much-anticipated local event — the opening of the new St. Pete Pier.

It was just two weeks ago that Mayor Rick Kriseman triumphantly announced that the $92 million, 26-acre “world class” destination would open on May 30. Work continues, even as fears of the coronavirus pandemic threaten to call a halt to everyday routines, though mayoral spokesman Ben Kirby cautioned that “things are changing rapidly, even hourly.”

Related: St. Pete’s long-awaited Pier will open in May

Asked if the mayor is concerned that the long-awaited Pier grand opening might have to be postponed, he added that the mayor "is focused on this pandemic and this emergency taking place right now and will address these issues a little further in the future as they arise.”

Meanwhile, Pier contractor Skanska USA Building has sent a letter to its subcontractors establishing strict rules concerning the health of workers on the project.

“As the growing concerns around the spread of COVID-19 in the U.S. escalate, I am personally reaching out to you as an integral member of our project community to ask for your commitment to ensuring the utmost vigilance in preventing further exposure of the coronavirus on our St. Pete Pier Replacement project,” Skanska project engineer and executive vice president Michael C. Brown wrote.

He has directed his project team to be vigilant in identifying anyone with symptoms consistent with the virus, Brown said, and is implementing a “zero-tolerance protocol.”

Brown asked the same of all subcontractors on the project.