Need a plumber? Make sure it’s an emergency

 Need a plumber? Make sure it’s an emergency

Jay Grant, a plumber for Richard P. Waltz Plumbing & Heating, wears protective gloves, glasses and a mask around his neck while receiving a work order from Operations Manager Dana Collins last week. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Maine service contractors that do house calls are still available to respond to plumbing, electrical and other in-home emergencies, but residents are going to find that routine projects will have to wait until the coronavirus pandemic is under control.

Most heating, plumbing and electrical contractors are still in business despite the sharp cutback in work they can perform. But they are being forced to turn away nonessential work because of rules designed to limit contact among people and reduce the spread of the disease.

And they are taking other steps to keep their workers and customers healthy, from maintaining a distance from co-workers and homeowners to wearing latex gloves and face masks while on the job.

“That’s the hard part of being a contractor right now,” said Rusty Googins, who runs R.W. Googins Electric in North Yarmouth.

Googins said he’s had to talk some customers out of work because of health concerns. Earlier this month, before the state banned nonessential work, Googins said, an elderly couple wanted a ceiling fan installed. He persuaded them to wait because it wasn’t needed right away and he was worried his workers might unwittingly expose the couple to the virus, which seems to affect older people most.

He also…

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