New York, New Jersey Reopen Construction Projects
(May 20, 2020)
- Construction projects in New Jersey and major areas of New York state are reopening, with firms continuing to practice distancing and other measures to prevent spread of COVID-19. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on May 15 said five state regions resumed work on nonessential construction sites—the North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Mohawk Valley and Central New York—based on meeting all criteria that includes coronavirus case numbers, hospital capacity, testing and contact tracing. But it's unclear when New York City and Long Island nonessential jobsites will open, since these areas have only reached some of the key benchmarks as of press time on May 15. Transportation projects continued in New York state, considered essential construction. These include the giant East Side Access project to bring Long Island Rail Road service to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, with strict safety measures implemented on sites to curb virus spread. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy has decreed that all nonessential construction can reopen May 18, with protocols set for social distancing, face covering, and sanitation, among others. Also on May 15, the state Senate voted unanimous approval for legislation already approved by the Assembly that would extend permit approvals at all government levels for projects halted by the pandemic, including those for water quality, land use, wetlands and related needs. The legislation would extend approvals given before March 9 for six months after the end of the pandemic emergency.