Most construction projects will be temporarily banned during the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday. While originally considered an essential service under the state’s “pause” order that shutdown most workplaces last week, all non-essential construction must now shut down until April 21 under an updated executive order by the state.
The revised order, first reported by THE CITY, comes after construction workers and public officials raised concerns about allowing work on residential and commercial buildings to continue. Earlier this week, construction was temporarily halted at two major public projects led by the governor, at LaGuardia Airport and the Moynihan Train Hall, after two workers were diagnosed with the coronavirus, as The Real Deal learned.
Emergency construction, which is described in the order as being “necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site,” can continue.
Projects may include roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. These sites must still maintain social distancing practices and companies will face a fine up to $10,000 for every safety violation.
Council Member Carlos Menchaca, who represents parts of Brooklyn, had been calling on the state to issue a moratorium of all construction site work in the city. “To all the construction workers and advocates who reached out to me since the crisis began–thank you,” Menchaca tweeted on Friday. “You fought for yourself and your families, and I was proud to fight with you.”
The Building Trades Employers Association (BTEA), the group which represents union contractors in New York, now supports the temporary closure of construction sites, after originally pushing for them to remain open.
“Our member contractors have implemented robust preventative protocols to protect their workers, while seeking to keep New York’s economy moving forward,” BTEA President Louis J. Coletti said in a statement. “However, the current state of escalating COVID-19 cases confirms the Governor’s prudent action today in his Executive Order to shut down all non-essential construction job sites through April 21.“
“The protection of all our workers and all New Yorkers is paramount. We look forward to rebuilding New York’s economy when it is safe to do so.”
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