Breaking: City of Boston Announces New Protocol for Resumption of “Essential” Construction This Month

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Late yesterday Boston Mayor Marty Walsh’s office announced a new protocol for re-starting city construction projects deemed “essential.” In mid-March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Walsh ordered most construction in the city to cease. Since April 27, 2020, all projects involving essential construction have been required to file with the city a COVID-19 Safety Plan and an affidavit pledging to implement that plan. Starting yesterday, projects with approved safety plans and signed affidavits were allowed to begin preparing their construction sites with project-specific COVID-19 safety measures.

Under the new protocol, starting May 18, 2020, projects that (1) have all necessary permits in place, (2) have approved safety plans and signed affidavits on file, and (3) are sufficiently prepared to implement their safety plans, can resume construction, but only if the work is for:

  • hospitals;
  • public schools;
  • residential buildings of 1-3 units;
  • road and utility work; or
  • “other outdoor/open-air work such as steel erection, roofing and constructing foundations.”

Under the second phase of the city’s new protocol, starting May 26, 2020, all essential construction projects as defined by the state in emergency orders issued by Governor Charlie Baker will be allowed to resume in accordance with their approved safety plans. This much broader category of essential projects is described in Gov. Baker’s original March 23, 2020 “Essential Services and Revised Gatherings Order,” which has been amended by extension orders dated March 31, 2020 and April 28, 2020.

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