04.01.2020 | Client Alerts | Covid-19

Governor Baker Reduces List of Essential Construction-Related Services

During last Thursday’s webinar, COVID-19’s Impact on the Massachusetts Construction Industry, Bernkopf Goodman LLP attorneys Peter McGlynn and Bob Stetson reported on Governor Charlie Baker’s Emergency Order dated March 23,2020, closing non-essential businesses until April 7,2020. The Emergency Order included a list of “Essential Services” that contained a general category for construction workers, construction service providers (e.g., plumbers, electricians, exterminators), local and state inspectors, and hardware and home improvement stores (e.g., Home Depot and Lowes).

Yesterday, Governor Baker extended the expiration date of his Emergency Order to May 4, 2020. However, he significantly reduced the list of “Essential Services” pertaining to construction and related services and activities. The new “Essential Services” list became effective at noon today, April 1, 2020.

Governor Baker’s new list of “Essential Construction-Related Services” is summarized below. The complete list of all Essential Services can be found at www.mass.gov:

  • Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC Technicians, landscapers, inspectors and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses and buildings such as hospitals, health care facilities, senior living facilities, and any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response.
  • Workers – including contracted vendors – who support the operation, inspection, maintenance and repair of essential public works facilities and operations, including roads and bridges, water and sewer, laboratories, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities, and maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations. Critical or strategic infrastructure includes public works construction including construction of public schools, colleges and universities and construction of state facilities, including leased space, managed by the Division of Capital Asset Management; airport operations; water and sewer; gas, electrical, nuclear, oil refining and other critical energy services; roads and highways; public transportation; steam; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services).
  • Workers who support infrastructure, such as by road and line clearing and utility relocation, to ensure the availability of and access to needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications.
  • Workers performing housing construction related activities, including construction of mixed-use projects that include housing to ensure additional units can be made available to combat the Commonwealth’s existing housing supply shortage.
  • Workers supporting the construction of housing, including those supporting government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services that can be modified to protect the public health, including allowing qualified private third-party inspections accountable to government agencies.

Other construction-related “Essential Services” are also contained in several industry specific essential services sections such as e.g. new infrastructure construction “required to address congestion or customer usage due to unprecedented use of remote services” contained in the section titled “Communication and Information Technology.”

If you require legal assistance with this or other construction related issues, please call or email Bernkopf Goodman LLP Construction and Surety Practice Group partners, Peter B. McGlynn (617-790-3390; pmcglynn@bg-llp.com) or Robert W. Stetson (617-790-3323; rstetson@bg-llp.com) directly.

The spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to produce global uncertainty, interrupt supply chains, restrict travel and raise employee safety concerns, among other challenges.

Bernkopf Goodman LLP is closely monitoring cases here and abroad and combining our capabilities to provide critical guidance to clients in an urgent and quickly evolving situation. If you have questions about how COVID-19 could impact you or your business, please contact us.