March 24, 2020
The City of Boston has suspended all regular activity at construction sites in the city to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Effective March 17, employers were permitted to maintain the necessary crews to keep their sites safe and secure, keep any materials from blowing away, and prevent trespassing. This work needed to be completed by March 23, Boston mayor Martin J. Walsh announced last week.
After sites have been secured, skeleton crews will be permitted for the remainder of this suspension to ensure safety. The only work that will be permitted moving forward will be emergency work, which will need to be approved by the City of Boston’s Inspectional Services Department.
“It makes Boston one of the first cities or districts in the U. S., other than those in complete lockdown or quarantine, to ban construction activity as a way of fighting the coronavirus,” as per The Architect’s Newspaper. “The move comes at a time when the city and region are booming with construction activity, from affordable housing to high-rise office buildings.”
The CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America, Stephen E. Sandherr, issued a statement in reaction to steps being taken to put in place arbitrary halts to construction activity in certain parts of the country.
“Halting construction activity will do more harm than good for construction workers, community residents, and the economy,” he said. “Construction firms are already acting to ensure the safety and health of their employees in the face of the coronavirus outbreak. These new measures, which include increased hygiene and halting group gatherings of staff, are in addition to the fact construction workers already wear protective equipment, including gloves that will help protect them and their co-workers.”
“Given the precautions already in place, halting construction will do little to protect the health and safety of construction workers. But it will go a long way in undermining economic vitality by depriving millions of workers of the wages they will need over the coming days. At the same time, these measures have the potential to bankrupt many construction firms who have contractual obligations to stay on schedule or risk incurring significant financial penalties.”
“In addition, halting construction projects will undermine ongoing, and future, recovery efforts in regions hit by natural disasters, and will also undermine any future efforts to expand hospital capacity.”
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