Will Construction Continue During Coronavirus Shutdowns?

March 23, 2020
Frame Contractor building house
By Tomasz Zajda

As schools and restaurants close and only essential businesses remain open in many US cities, builders may wonder where they're required to stay at home. So far, construction workers are not barred from work in most locations, even in the hardest-hit states of New York City and California and cities with shelter-in-place orders. Still, the situation across the nation is developing, and some cities such as Boston are shutting down construction projects. As of now, most builders can continue projects, but as the pandemic continues, they should keep their eyes on their city's policy.

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s announcement earlier this week halting all but essential construction work in the city has left contractors in other areas of the country wondering if their jurisdictions will also order a temporary stop to their projects.  

While Boston, and now neighboring city, Cambridge, have been the only U.S. cities to officially stop all construction, other areas are under orders that ban nonessential services, causing some construction leaders to wonder whether their work is considered essential or not.

In Las Vegas, the Allegiant Stadium construction site is open for business, even though Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak has issued a 30-day statewide closure of all nonessential businesses as of yesterday. Contractors are still on the job in New York City and Northern California, too, even though those areas are among some of the hardest hit by the virus. The shelter-in-place order announced for six San Francisco Bay area counties Monday allows all housing projects to continue — market rate, affordable and mixed-use — while commercial construction projects must temporarily shut down, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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