States take varying approaches on essential construction policies

Home COVID-19 States take varying approaches on essential construction policies

The coronavirus pandemic has temporarily shuttered thousands of businesses throughout the U.S. and disrupted scores of construction projects in the process. According to statistics compiled by Construction Dive through April 3, a total of 32 states have no restrictions on construction projects; nine states allow some projects; four states allow no projects; and six states have not decided. Note: the list includes the 50 states and The District of Columbia.

In many cases, states have stay-at-home orders for most businesses, albeit construction is exempted. In California, for example, non-essential businesses have been shut down with the exception of construction. Several counties, including San Francisco County and Santa Clara County, initially halted all non-residential construction, but have since changed it to allow housing projects with a minimum of 10% of units specified as affordable housing.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a stay-at-home order through May 1. Construction and many businesses supporting construction remain exempt from shutdowns.

Georgia has no statewide order on business shutdowns, although some counties and cities such as Atlanta and Savannah have specific guidelines shutting down construction aside from housing.

Louisiana’s executive stay-at-home order exempts construction businesses by describing construction trades as essential infrastructure.

New York’s statewide shutdown paused all construction that cannot be considered “emergency construction.” Project teams in New York City may be fined up to $10,000 if found working on non-essential or non-emergency construction — or if workers on projects that are allowed to continue don’t practice social distancing.

The other states that do not allow construction are Vermont, which only permits emergency construction to carry on; Pennsylvania, which has halted all non-emergency or hospital-related construction across the state; and Michigan, where Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shut down all non-essential businesses, including construction.

The state by state breakdown can be found here.

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