Construction Industry Update for New York – Only “Essential” Construction May Proceed

Governor Cuomo directed the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) on March 27, 2020 to update New York State’s Guidance for various businesses, including construction, under the Governor’s New York State on “PAUSE” Executive Orders (EO 202.6 and thereafter).

In short, only “essential” construction may proceed under the ESD’s updated Guidance, while non-essential construction (except emergency work) must halt:

ESD Guidance for Determining Whether a Business Enterprise Is Subject to a Workforce Reduction under Recent Executive Orders

9. Construction

  • All non-essential construction must shut down 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 until it is safe to shut the site).
  • Essential construction may continue and includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
  • For purposes of this section, construction work does not include a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on a job site.


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