Boston Construction – A Plan to Get Back to Business


Over the past 7 years, cranes and steel structures have filled the Boston skyline. Business in the construction industry was booming, but was suddenly halted due to COVID-19.

On March 16, 2020 Boston’s Mayor, Martin J. Walsh, was the first mayor of a major U.S. city to issue a stop order for construction projects regarding safety concerns relating to the virus. Now roughly 7 weeks later the city is ready to allow some projects to resume with safety still being a top priority. On April 27, 2020, the city noted all construction sites would be required to submit a COVID-19 work plan. In a letter issued by city officials on May 5, 2020 it was stated “this effectiveness of, and compliance with the policy will continue to be evaluated as the City looks to broaden its categories of allowed construction work to further align with the Commonwealth”

Highlights from May 5, 2020 City of Boston letter:

  • May 5, 2020, all essential projects with filed COVID-19 plans were able to begin preparing their sites for the proper safety measures.
  • May 18, 2020, projects that (1) have all necessary permits in place, (2) have approved safety plans and signed affidavits on file, and (3) are sufficiently prepared to implement their safety plans, can resume construction, but only if the work is for: hospitals, public schools, road and utility work, residential buildings with three or fewer units, or other outdoor/open air work such as steel erection, roofing and constructing foundations.
  • May 26, 2020, all essential construction projects as defined by the state in emergency orders issued by Governor Charlie Baker will be allowed to resume in accordance with their approved safety plans. This much broader category of essential projects is described in Gov. Baker’s original March 23, 2020 “Essential Services and Revised Gatherings Order,” which has been amended by extensions dated March 31, 2020 and April 28, 2020.
  • Enforcement of the return to construction will be done by the Department of Public Works and the Inspectional Services Department. They will monitor site safety, and sites that do not comply could be shut down or have their permits revoked.
  • Mayor Walsh has partnered with Tufts Medical Center to provide testing services for the industry at the Tufts COVID-19 Screening Clinic at the Josiah Quincy Elementary School.
For additional information or question, please
contact a member of the Construction Services Team.

The City of Boston continues to take a safety-first approach to opening construction sites and as the May 5, 2020 letter stated, “as essential construction activities commence, the City will continue to focus on the health and well-being of Boston residents, worker protections and the safety of Boston construction sites.” The City of Boston reserves the right to modify and/or adjust allowable work or implementation dates based upon public health.

The Associated General Contractors developed a sample work plan that can be used as guidance for creating your COVID-19 jobsite plan. Please reach out to our Construction Services team with any questions.

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