As we approach the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, many states and cities around the country have proposed safety measures for construction projects during the pandemic. These guidelines range from a single page of suggestions to multipage requirements handed down by state public health officers. In “DC Real Estate and Construction Committee Issues Recommendations as DC Prepares for Phased Reopening,” John Chamberlain discusses the ways that the District of Columbia has taken to implement a community-driven, “one size does not fit all” approach to establishing recommendations for reopening.
Over the past few months, construction projects in most states have carried on because construction was deemed essential and projects were exempted from government orders that closed businesses. In the jurisdictions that halted construction operations, state and local authorities are now easing those restrictions and allowing construction to resume. In “Safety Measures for Construction Projects During the COVID-19 Pandemic,” colleagues Laura Bourgeois LoBue and Jose L. Lua-Valencia discuss just how different construction sites will be than they were a few months ago under this new normal.
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh first limited construction in the City of Boston to essential work on March 17. This pause in non-essential construction has been extended indefinitely by order of the Boston Public Health Commission on April 24. On April 27, Mayor Walsh confirmed that he will not re-open the City on May 4, the date the Commonwealth is scheduled to re-open (Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker extended his stay-at-home order on April 28 to May 18). In “City of Boston, Massachusetts Extends Construction Moratorium,” partner Paul Shapses discusses how non-essential construction is not presently permitted in Boston, but draft best practice guidelines and an associated contractor certificate identify the way forward for owners and contractors.
The Federal government issued an advisory list of essential critical workers, including workers doing certain types of construction, but deferred to states and local governments to implement any orders. In “Construction During COVID-19: Is It Essential?,” colleagues Laura Bourgeois LoBue, Matthew D. Stockwell, Andrew M. Argyris and Elizabeth J. Dye address that there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to how governments are handling construction.