New York stops most construction because of COVID-19

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New York is shutting down all construction except work on infrastructure, healthcare facilities and affordable housing.

The Empire State Development Corp. says only work on “roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters” will be considered essential.

This is a sharp change from the previous blanket exemption to the close-down executive order signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week, which prohibited employees from non-essential businesses from reporting to work.

9. Construction

All non-essential construction must shut down except emergency construction, (e.g. a project 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).

Essential construction may continue and includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.

For purposes of this section construction work does not include a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on a job site.

Now work on projects such as luxury condos and commercial buildings will be stopped, unless emergency work needs to be done, such as work that would endanger the public if left unfinished.

“Some sites, including part of LaGuardia airport and Moynihan Train Hall, have temporarily stalled work due to sick workers,” The Real Deal has reported. “SL Green Realty confirmed that one worker at One Vanderbilt had tested positive for Covid-19 Thursday but had self-quarantined since March 14. The case did not shut down work on the office tower. Related Companies’ 50 Hudson Yards also had a worker with Covid-19, according to multiple construction professionals, though the company did not return multiple messages seeking comment on how the situation was handled.”

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