On March 27, 2020, Empire State Development released guidelines amending, in part, the list of essential businesses previously identified in Executive Order 202.6 (as amended by subsequent Executive Orders). Notably, the guidelines require that all non-essential construction shut down immediately.

What is “non-essential construction”? It is any construction that does not fall into one of the two following categories:

1. Emergency construction is:

  • A project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants; or 
  • A project that would be unsafe to immediately cease; construction must stop as soon as it is safe to shut the site.

2. Essential construction includes:

  • Roads;
  • Bridges;
  • Transit facilities;
  • Utilities;
  • Hospitals;
  • Health care facilities;
  • Affordable housing; and
  • Homeless shelters.

At each construction site, whether essential or emergency construction, workers must maintain social distancing at all times. If a construction site fails to practice adequate social distancing or any other safety best practices, it will be required to close.

Enforcement of these guidelines will be handled by New York State in conjunction with city and local governments. Violators should expect fines of up to $10,000.00 per violation.

Please note that the Empire State Development guidance does not apply to a single construction worker at a job site.