Although Governor Cuomo put “New York State on PAUSE” a week ago, at that time, “construction” was not specifically exempted from his Executive Order and the Empire State Development’s (ESD) guidance on what businesses were subject to the 100 percent workforce reduction. Yet, pursuant to a further directive from the Governor, on March 27, 2020, the ESD updated its guidance to explicitly state that “[a]ll 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).” (Emphasis added.) See: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026.
The ESC provides several examples of “[e]ssential construction,” and advises that for project sites falling within that category, or for sites qualifying as “emergency non-essential construction,” the Executive Order’s 10-point policy requires, as explained in the ESC guidance, “maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit.” (See also 10 Point Plan.) The ESC warns that “[s]ites 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.”
The ESC guidance excludes from the definition of “construction work” “a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on a job site.”