Empire State Development on Sunday night posted updated guidance for construction activity in a region still operating under “NY on Pause”/not yet at Phase 1 of “NY Forward” specifying permitted staging activities at construction sites. At this point, this guidance applies specifically to New York City as all other regions have entered Phase 1, with construction permitted on all jobs within the requirements of “NY Forward.”
The new guidance reads as follows:
“All non-essential construction is limited to only staging activities in regions that are not yet within the first phase of the state’s reopening plan, 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, but only to the point that it is safe to suspend work).
Essential construction includes:
- construction for, or your business provides necessary support for construction projects involving, roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or healthcare facilities, homeless shelters, or public or private schools;
- construction for affordable housing, as defined as construction work where either (i) a minimum of 20% of the residential units are or will be deemed affordable and are or will be subject to a regulatory agreement and/or a declaration from a local, state, or federal government agency or (ii) where the project is being undertaken by, or on behalf of, a public housing authority;
- construction necessary to protect the health and safety of occupants of a structure;
- construction necessary to continue a project if allowing the project to remain undone would be unsafe, provided that the construction must be shut down when it is safe to do so;
- construction for existing (i.e. currently underway) projects of an essential business; or
- construction work that is being completed by a single worker who is the sole employee/worker on the job site.
At every site, it is required that the personnel working on the site maintain an appropriate social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exits. Sites that cannot maintain appropriate social distancing, as well as cleaning/disinfecting protocols must close. Enforcement will be conducted by state and local governments, including fines up to $10,000 per violation.
Construction may continue solely with respect to those employees that must be present at the business location/construction site in support of essential business activities. No other employees/personnel shall be permitted to work in-person at the business location/construction site. For staging activities, an in-person workforce may be present on-site to:
- Clean, sanitize, and/or disinfect common and work areas;
- Test run hoists, elevators, cranes, and other equipment;
- Establish new and multiple entrances/exists to control the movement of personnel and allow for health screening, including temperature taking;
- Install hand hygiene/wash stations or retrofit existing ones with touchless faucets and dispensers;
- Install health screening stations or devices at entrances;
- Affix social distancing, hygiene, and cleaning/disinfection signage, including posters, markers, and directional arrows;
- Deliver and stockpile personal protective equipment (e.g. face coverings, face shields, gloves); and
- Order, unload, and rough set materials that specialty contractors or subcontractors need to perform work (e.g. structural supports, piping, conduits, drywall).
As noted above, local governments, including municipalities and school districts, are allowed to continue construction projects at this time as government entities are exempt from these essential business restrictions. However, to the greatest extent possible, local governments should postpone any non-essential projects and only proceed with essential projects when they can implement appropriate social distancing and cleaning/disinfecting protocols. Essential projects should be considered those that have a nexus to health and safety of the building occupants or to support the broader essential services that are required to fulfill the critical operations of government or the emergency response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.”