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Washington Issues Statewide Ban on Construction as Boston’s Moratorium Continues 

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Washington Issues Statewide Ban on Construction as Boston’s Moratorium Continues 

March 27, 2020
Home construction site on hold during COVID-19
Photo: Jandrie Lombard

Unless a Washington builders’ company is involved in essential functions such as healthcare, they will now stay home: Washington issued a statewide suspension of all nonessential construction amid the coronavirus. The rule came into effect on March 25, joining other construction bans put into place to combat the virus. Boston’s moratorium, one of the first enacted, has also been extended, despite Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker saying it will disrupt critical services. The jury is out if other states will enact similar bans, but housing shortages in states such as California help builders stay essential.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee released a construction-specific clarification to his statewide stay-at-home order yesterday, reversing his original mandate from Monday that appeared to exempt construction.

The clarification states that nearly all construction is a nonessential activity and should halt in the state, which has been hit hard by COVID-19.

While disappointing to Washington contractors who want construction to continue, Inslee’s memo did provide clear guidance on which types of projects and workers are affected, something that has been lacking in other jurisdictions' stay-at-home orders. 

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