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COVID-19 LATEST NEWS

5/27/2020 SITUATION UPDATE: MA EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY

Click here to learn of the latest protective measures to be aware of, current state actions, disaster/emergency recovery actions and more.

 

5/6 TEMPORARY GUIDANCE FOR CONSTRUCTION IN THE CITY OF BOSTON

To stem the current public health crisis and support the health of workers in the City, the City has paused non-essential construction and is enacting new requirements for permitting.

 

3/31/20202 Governor Charlie Baker Releases New Definition of Construction as an Essential Service

Today Governor Charlie Baker extended his emergency non-essential business closure order through May 4, 2020 and issued an updated essential services list, which changes the language relative to construction as an essential service originally

released on March 23, 2020.

Click here to see the language difference between the Governor’s March 23 and March 31 orders relating to construction.

AGC MA is currently reviewing the essential services list and the impact it may have on private construction work in the Commonwealth.

 

3/27/2020 U.S. Senate passes AGC of America’s comprehensive analysis of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

In addition, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) today added to its published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

Specifically, WHD added to its original Questions and Answers document. The new Q&A's (see questions 15-37) address critical issues, such as recordkeeping, documentation requirements, when an employee is unable to telework, intermittent leave, worksite closures, furloughs, UI interaction, health coverage requirements, and multiemployer collective bargaining agreement implications.

 

3/25/2020 US DOL PUBLISHES NEW FEDERAL PAID LEAVE GUIDANCE FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT

Today, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) announced its first round of published guidance to provide information to employers about meeting their requirements to offer emergency paid sick leave and paid family medical leave offered by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) when it takes effect on April 1, 2020.

The guidance – provided in a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers and a Questions and Answers document – addresses critical questions, such as how an employer must count the number of their employees to determine coverage; how small businesses can obtain an exemption; how to count hours for part-time employees; and how to calculate the wages employees are entitled to under this law.

 

3/23/2020 CORONAVIRUS ORDER: MASS. GOV. BAKER ORDERS NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES TO CLOSE

The Governor has ordered the on-site closure of non-essential businesses starting tomorrow. He has issued a list of ESSENTIAL SERVICES THAT ARE EXEMPT FROM THE CLOSURE. This list includes: "Construction Workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction)." AGC MA reminds all Members that the Governor’s “List of Covid -19 Essential Services” issued today along with his order on the closure of non-essential businesses starting Tuesday at noon DOES NOT overturn the more restrictive Boston and Cambridge ordinances. In Massachusetts, each of the Commonwealth’s 351 cities and towns has the authority under their public health powers to issue THEIR OWN directions within their jurisdictions.

In addition, “Workers to ensure continuity of building functions, including local and state inspectors and administrative support of inspection services who are responsible for the inspection of elevators, escalators, lifts, buildings, plumbing and gas fitting, electrical work, and other safety related professional work” are also listed as essential.”

We believe this Order does not limit construction in any way and believe this language gives companies the ability to continue your construction projects unless otherwise prohibited by the local governments.

 

3/20/2020, COVID-19 UPDATE: THE FAMILIES FIRST CORONA VIRUS RESPONSE ACT BECOMES  LAW

President Trump signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law late Wednesday night.  The law goes into effect into effect April 2, 2020 and will remain in place until the end of the year. Read the full summary presented by Michael S. ArnoldDavid BarmakDanielle M. Bereznay, Mintz here>>

 

3/18/2020 CITY OF BOSTON CONSTRUCTION MORATORIUM PROJECT EXEMPTIONS UPDATE

As you are now aware, on March 16, 2020, Mayor Martin J. Walsh issued an Order suspending construction within the City of Boston. The Order contains exemptions for essential work which includes emergency utility work, work on mandated building or utility work at health care facilities that support vulnerable populations, work to ensure the reliability of transportation networks and work to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable.

Unfortunately, these guidelines are vague. However, we think we can assume that all work on health care facilities supports vulnerable populations. In addition, we have heard that the MBTA and Mass. Highway do not consider their agencies or their projects covered under the Mayor’s ban.

The order does not contain any specific penalties for alleged violations. It appears that any enforcement action would simply be the halt of any ongoing work.

We would urge you to discuss your individual projects with your owners and partners in the building trades. If you need further guidance you can contact the Boston Inspectional Services Department to discuss your specific construction project and the Public Works Department for questions regarding utility work.

 

However, if you prefer, AGC MA Members are welcome to contact Bob Petrucelli at 781-235-2680, ext. 114 or Patrick Huntington, AGC MA Legislative Agent at 617-922-0526, or at ph@mabayassociates.com for assistance with these contacts.

 

3/15/2020 Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Monday ordered a halt to construction projects in the city amid concerns about worker safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Walsh said the shutdown was effective Tuesday. He said companies should maintain the crews necessary to make sure their sites are “safe and secure.” The sites need to be secure by Monday, March 23. He said skeleton crews could stay on to make sure the sites are safe.

 

Click here to view the Press Release>>

Click here to view the Mayor's Office official web page>>

 

3/15/2020 Baker-Polito Administration Announced Emergency Actions to Address COVID-19 announces a three-week suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth beginning Tuesday, March 17, and a series of new guidance and legislation in response to COVID-19.

Governor Baker also issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective until April 6. The full order is available here.

Additionally, Governor Charlie Baker has filed for emergency unemployment benefits to be available for all persons who may face interruption in work as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.