In the face of unprecedented stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the vast majority (more than 85 percent) of communications infrastructure services companies that are members of NATE: The Communications Infrastructure Contractors Association are conducting routine business operations and hours of service, according to a COVID-19 Member Impact Survey conducted during a six-day period from Friday, March 27 to Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
“The purpose of the survey was to assess how the COVID-19 public health pandemic is impacting the Association’s member companies in order to help guide NATE’s efforts in identifying the future needs, content and resources of our membership during these unprecedented times,” said President and CEO Todd Schlekeway.
The survey found that more than 74 percent of NATE members have office-based personnel working at home in order to maintain social distance. One respondent said, “We have office-based personnel working remotely as much as possible, and only entering normal office spaces as required to support field operations.”
Surveys are “snapshots in time” and the association believes that the NATE Member COVID-19 Impact Survey contains valuable insight directly from the front lines of deployment that can be a resource for members of Congress, government agencies, wireless carriers, broadcasters, tower owner/vertical realtors, construction management firms, sub-contractors and tower technicians.
More than 56 percent of the respondents have pulled tower crews from the field because of the virus, while more 23.6 percent did.
More than 64 percent respondents’ tower crews and employees experienced logistical issues while traveling such as access to restaurants, lodging, cleaning supplies.
“Even though we are an essential services company, we cannot get the proper PPE [personal protective equipment] from our corporate vendors. We have been gathering items through our connections and relationships in order to keep workers safe,” one respondent said.
“We restricted overnight stays and have the guys drive back daily to avoid some of these logistical issues,” according to another respondent.
Three quarters of the respondents are using the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – CISA Essential Service/Critical Infrastructure Access and Fuel letters that NATE provided as a member benefit. “Yes, thank you, [the letters] really helped relieve employees fears of being challenged by law enforcement, especially during night work at cell sites and traveling to and from work,” a respondent said.
Only 38.8 percent of respondents have filed for, or investigated filing for, a Small Business Administration low-interest loan. “We have explored the possibility but have not filed yet. We are having issues with our customers receiving materials and therefore cancelling or postponing work,” according to a respondent.
Click Here to see a copy of the survey.