Due to the spread of COVID-19, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh ordered a halt on all non-essential construction for City of Boston permitted sites. The construction ban went into effect on March 16, 2020. He announced that sites should be locked down for safety by March 23rd. On the 25th, Mayor Walsh extended the suspension until further notice, announcing that “[t]he safety and health of construction workers and all residents of Boston is my first priority, and I am not willing to put that at risk as the virus spreads throughout our communities”.
Mayor Walsh deems this pause on construction to be a necessary effort to “flatten the curve” in Boston given the large gatherings of people at work sites. He also stated, however, that “on a case-by-case basis” his office will “review requests for exemptions to the temporary construction moratorium”. His office claims that these proposals will only be granted if necessary precautions are taken to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 among workers in Boston.
State agencies and other cities and towns have unfortunately not followed Mayor Walsh’s lead. For instance, NBC10 Boston reported on an active construction site at a large commercial development on Northern Avenue in the Boston’s Seaport District. That project seems to be ongoing because the land is owned by Massport. NBC also reported that another large construction project is ongoing at a high school off Route 1 in Saugus, MA. As the hum of construction activity seems to be continuing in many cities and towns across the Commonwealth, Massachusetts citizens are urged to proceed with caution around ongoing construction sites. Workers and the construction companies that employ them should take extra precautions to enforce new operating procedures and regulations of social distancing to keep everyone safe.