Boston officials have outlined a plan to allow a greater number of construction projects to move forward in May.
Beginning May 18, outdoor and steel erection work may be started. All essential construction projects will resume as of May 26.
The permitted work will need to have filed a Covid-19 safety plan and a safety affidavit. These include work for hospitals, public schools, road work, and utility work.
Mayor Walsh had ordered a work stoppage in mid-March, becoming the first mayor of a major urban US city to do so.
“The City of Boston reserves the right to modify and/or adjust allowable work or implementation dates based upon public health,” remarked Patrick I. Brophy, Walsh's chief of operations. “At no time will the City of Boston permit any construction beyond what is allowed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as an essential construction project.”
Real-estate industry group NAIOP Massachusetts cheered the decision.
“We are very happy to see that this gradual reopening will allow for important housing and economic development projects to move forward,” said NAIOP CEO Tamara Small in an email. “Worker health and safety has continued to be a top priority for NAIOP and its members since this began. A great deal of thought went into developing construction safety protocols to ensure a safe workplace and we recognize that ongoing monitoring and enforcement will be a key component of this plan.”
Brophy hopes that this incremental approach will allow for enough time to implement workforce education and a site-specific safety plan. Sites that do not comply could be shut down or have their permits revoked by the city's department of public works and inspectional services.