Total Safety Blog

TSC COVID-19 News Center (Updated 4/3/2020)

At Total Safety Consulting, we are actively monitoring the situation on COVID-19, taking precautions for both our onsite safety professionals and in-office staff to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

For news regarding COVID-19 and its effect on the construction industry, we will be compiling the most prevalent news available below, updated day-by-day. For news regarding COVID-19 and its effect on the construction industry, we will be compiling the most prevalent news available below, updated day-by-day.  Also, follow additional Industry resources here from our partners, BTEA Updates and Contractor Resource Center , AGC News Updates, and New York Building Congress Coronavirus Updates

All Department of Building Updates

Partner Updates:

April 3rd 2020

  • New York Daily News: LaGuardia Airport’s $8 billion rebuilding project has drastically slowed down in recent weeks as dozens of construction workers have come down with coronavirus.
  • The AGC has compiled an information sheet focused on the Paycheck Protection Program, a new loan program for small businesses enacted in the CARES Act.
  • Penn Live: The sudden shutdown of the construction industry has led to layoffs across Pennsylvania.
  • Business Insider: Bill Gates will fund the construction of seven factories to research and manufacture coronavirus vaccines.
  • New York Times: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment this past week, prompting experts to believe the unemployment rate is at 13%.
  • New York Times: De Blasio calls for Draft of Doctors, more deaths reported in NY in last 24 hours than first 27 days of virus confirmation (around 3000 now).
  • Local 10 Florida: Miami Construction firm taking steps to contain and sanitize work environment after 2 test positive for COVID-19.
  • Florida Construction News: Department of Transportation accelerates critical construction projects valued at over 2 Billion.
  • Bethesda Magazine: Construction on Hensel Phelps’ Marriott world headquarters and hotel in Bethesda, Maryland, has been suspended after two employees of a subcontractor tested positive for COVID-19.
  • St. Louis Today: St. Louis-area firm Robinson Construction has laid off 80 employees in Bloomfield, Missouri, citing “unforeseeable business circumstances” related to COVID-19.
  • The Denver Post: Construction in Colorado is still considered an essential business, but new guidance from the state recommends reducing crew sizes and deferring non-urgent work to reduce risks.
  • Review Journal: A newly formed Nevada construction group has launched a website to let workers anonymously report virus-related problems at jobsites.

April 2nd 2020

  • Construction Dive: 2 Trillion Dollar Stimulus Benefits Small Business and Payroll benefits.
  • Miami Herald: The closing of the Miami-Dade permit office has forced local contractors to pay for private inspections.
  • New York Daily News: A Galveston general contracting company that is working on U.S.-Mexico border wall construction has received a $250 million contract to help build emergency medical facilities in New York City.
  • Fox 13 Florida: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ statewide stay-at-home order exempts construction as an essential activity.
  • The Hill: One of the largest construction unions in the country has urged Congress to subsidize the costs of healthcare for laid-off construction workers.
  • Daily Reporter: Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers introduced legislation that would cover costs if the state delays public construction projects and also allow critical workers to claim worker’s compensation benefits if they contract COVID-19 at work.
  • The American Society of Safety Professionals is providing free online access to 330 recorded education sessions on many issues connected to workplace safety and health including coronavirus-related programs.
  • ConsensusDocs’ COVID-19 Resource Center for construction law and contract issues includes a sample notice letter, worker restriction orders across the United States and a sample essential worker certificate.

April 1st, 2020

  • Dodge Data and Analytics: A new tracker compiles delayed construction projects in the U.S. down to the county level.
  • Curbed NY: Coronavirus shuts down non-essential construction in NY.
  • New York Times: Florida Governor issues stay at home order.
  • Miami Herald: After most of its permitting staff went into self-isolation because of multiple coronavirus cases within their ranks, Miami-Dade county officials are suspending construction inspections and telling builders to hire their own engineers to review work for safety and code compliance.
  • KTLA: Los Angeles’ new regulations for construction sites mandate that plans must be submitted to the city to ensure construction sites follow physical distancing, decontamination and hygiene practices.
  • San Francisco Examiner: Most housing and commercial construction is now restricted under the Bay Area-wide shelter-in-place order that has now been extended to May 3.
  • Construction Review: The biggest construction union in Massachusetts has called on Gov. Charles Baker to declare a statewide suspension of all but essential construction for the month of April.
  • The Hill: The highly contested Keystone XL oil pipeline is set to begin construction this month, under guidance from government and health authorities to ensure safety for workers and surrounding communities.
  • 9W Syracuse: The NBT Bank Stadium project in Syracuse, New York, has continued after it was halted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s call for a stop on all nonessential construction.

March 31st, 2020

  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a guide to help small businesses and independent contractors to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • Engineering News Record – NYC DOB announces fines of up to 10k if work continues on non essential sites.
  • Miami Herald – COVID-19 scientist that created model used by White House advises Florida to shutdown
  • New York Times -The intensification of border wall construction is raising fears among residents of Ajo, Arizona, and other nearby communities that the growing influx of workers increases their risk of exposure.
  • Bisnow Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C., residents are now restricted from leaving their homes except for essential reasons, but the region’s construction projects can proceed.
  • WLNS -The Michigan Infrastructure & Transportation Association (MITA) has asked Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to deem all construction field operations as nonessential so employees can stay home.
  • Austin Monitor – Austin officials have clarified new rules for the construction industry. Only projects that are “critical infrastructure, essential business or affordable housing projects” can continue.
  • Las Vegas Review-Journal -The Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration has warned construction firms that work crews at some sites are not practicing social distancing.
  • LA Times – After a worker tested positive for COVID-19, employees at the SoFi Stadium site in Inglewood, Calfornia, worry that the project could expose them and their families to the virus.

March 30th, 2020

  • As part of the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency, in accordance with New York State Executive Order 202.6, Empire State Development guidance and New York City Emergency Executive Order 103, all work on non-essential construction and demolition sites is suspended for the duration of this state of emergency.
  • Crains NY Business: What to Know about the Coronavirus numbers in New York. Numbers are due to increased testing, NY doing everything it can to contain the virus
  • NBCDFW: A person working on Manhattan Construction’s Globe Life Field has tested positive for COVID-19, and the site is being sanitized.
  • New Department of Homeland Security guidance has clarified construction’s role in supporting essential critical infrastructure.
  • New York Daily News: The pandemic has sparked one of the speediest timelines for a major construction project in New York City history: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ dredging at Pier 90 to make room for the USNS Comfort hospital ship.
  • KYW News Radio: A growing number of contractors, unions and Pennsylvania county government officials are pleading Gov. Tom Wolf to lift his ban on construction activity.
  • Miami Herald: Work on two major projects in Miami-Dade County, Florida — a $300 million Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines headquarters building at the Port of Miami and a University of Miami UHealth Care center in North Miami — has been delayed indefinitely, due to uncertainty about COVID-19.
  • Washington Post: While construction workers in the Washington, D.C., area understand the potential risks of contracting the virus, most are more worried about getting laid off than getting sick, according to union leaders.

March 27th, 2020

  • NY Daily News: Governor Cuomo has deemed construction as non-essential, halting all construction that is not going towards the effort against COVID-19.
    • Fox News: Cuomo has also asked Trump for funding to build emergency hospitals in each borough
    • All 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).
    • Essential construction may continue and includes roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters. At every site, if essential or emergency non-essential construction, this includes maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit. Sites 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.
  • Construction Dive: Managing a Coronavirus related project shutdown
  • New York Times: Full FAQ on the stimulus bill and what it entails.
  • Politico: Half of New Yorkers likely to get Coronavirus, says Mayor de Blasio.
  • BTEA supports Cuomo’s shutdown order.

March 26th, 2020

  • NY Daily News: Construction workers voice concern and complaints regarding social distancing measures on construction sites, deeming it impossible to implement.
  • New York Times: Newest job report shows over 3 million people have filed for unemployment this month, most ever by a wide margin (for comparison, the highest number reported during the 2008 Recession was around 665,000)
  • Curbed Austin: Austin construction paused amid stay-at-home order in city deems construction as nonessential
  • Cleveland.com: Construction in Ohio is deemed essential amid worker concerns, increasing anxiety and absenteeism
  • NBC Boston: Massachusetts Governor orders Boston and other cities to continue construction, citing their essential business status and their absence would cause major economic disruption
  • Construction Dive: Washington State bans construction, deeming it nonessential activity.

March 25th, 2020

  • Crains NY Business: The White House and Senate leaders of both major political parties announced an agreement early Wednesday on an unprecedented $2 trillion emergency bill to rush sweeping aid to businessesworkers and a health care system slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Commercial Observer: More buildings beyond Javits Center are planned to become medical facilities.
  • NY Times: Building Projects in Upper East Side cannot social distance, have limited soap and sanitizer.
  • NY MTA has released flowcharts to demonstrate protocols for COVID-19 exposure. You can find charts based on a variety of different exposure scenarios.
  • Slate: Why Construction is Still Going On (lot to do with materials degrading over time and potential hazards on an unfinished site)
  • Miami Local News 10: Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez is monitoring construction activity, citing that it is still essential business but is watching the situation.
  • Building Design and Construction: CEO of Perkin and Wills says that it is too early to tell the impact of construction.
  • Seattle Times:  Sellen Construction, one of the region’s largest general contractors, Monday morning decided to suspend construction across dozens of job sites for two weeks out of concern for employees’ health, CEO Scott Redman said. The nearly 320 employees affected will receive full pay during the pause in business.
  • BBC: Construction continues in UK despite growing shutdown calls.

March 24th, 2020

  • NYC Department of Buildings has released a new service update, further restricting in-person appearances to limit walk in traffic.
  • Miami Herald: Governor of Florida is not issuing a statewide “stay-at-home” order, while cities in Miami-Dade county have issued similar orders.
  • Crain’s Detroit Business: Michigan Governor issuing order that suspends commercial building projects.
  • New York Times: Virus count is doubling every three days, now account for 7% of all global cases.

March 23rd, 2020

  • Construction Dive: Construction can continue in NY, California and Illinois. In other areas, its banned.
  • Construction Dive: Construction is continuing amid shutdown, though some areas such as Pennsylvania are shutting down sites. Interactive map here.
    • Map shows that Disney World Renovations, San Francisco, Boston, and all of Pennsylvania have shut down construction.
  • Governor Cuomo’s Twitter: Javits Center to become a temporary hospital with 1000 beds.

March 22nd, 2020

  • NY Governor Andrew Cuomo releases Executive Order 202.9, continuing temporary suspension and modification of laws relating to the disaster emergency.
  • NY Governor Andrew Cuomo releases Executive Order 202.8, reducing in-person workforce of non-essential locations by 100%.
  • Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced he is signing the “New York State on PAUSE” executive order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone.
  • New York Times: NY State now accounts for 5% of all worldwide coronavirus patients.
  • NBC News: NJ Governor Phil Murphy issues stay at home order for all residents and non-essential business.
  • Fox 29 Philadelphia: PA officials announce stay at home order for residents and non-essential business starting Monday 3/23/20
  • Eyewitness News Connecticut: Stay at Home order for Connecticut entering Monday.
  • Globe Street: Two Construction firms working with Florida hospitals on coronavirus projects.
  • Tampa Bay Times: Coronavirus hitting Florida like an economic hurricane.
  • Florida Construction News: Local Contractors wanted for Baptist Hospital and Pensacola Airport expansion.

March 20th, 2020

March 19th, 2020

  • Over the past two days NYS Governor Cuomo Releases Two Executive Orders:
    • 202.5: Continuing suspensions and modification of laws in relation to disaster/emergency funding
    • 202.6: Effective on March 20 at 8 p.m.: All businesses and not-for-profit entities in the state shall utilize, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work from home procedures that they can safely utilize. Each employer shall reduce the in-person workforce at any work locations by 50% no later than March 20 at 8 p.m. (At time of writing, 75% reduction is being mandated)
  • NY Post: Public Advocate Jumaane Williams wants De Blasio to suspend construction in NYC, mayor’s office has not respond as of yet.
  • Real Deal: Miami to cease all non-essential Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has expanded his order of businesses that must close — and those that can remain open — during the coronavirus pandemic. All malls and casinos will have to shut down. Construction sites, hotels and banks can remain open.
  • Commercial Observer: New York halts foreclosures and evictions indefinitely:
  • Crain’s New York: New York to suspend mortgage payments by 90 days:
  • The Real Deal: Coronavirus not stopping South Florida construction for now:
  • ENR: Will Coronavirus stunt the construction boom?
  • ENR: Suffolk among construction companies who are donating n95 masks.

March 18th, 2020:

  • Louis Coletti of BTEA: Coronavirus outbreak and shutdown could cost the industry “billions”.
  • Crains New York: NY to suspend debt collection for at least 30 days.
  • Commercial Observer: Real Estate Market to brace for major disruption:
  • AGC: Recently released a main page for their news related to coronavirus.
  • Miami Herald: Top builders in Miami haven’t seen slowdown from COVID-19, but are readying contingencies such as remote work and sick leave until April 20th
  • Bloomberg: NYC construction plugs away even with city shutdown. 
  • New York Post: Workers are continuing to work even if they’re sick, will keep working until city tells them not to. Coletti said if they know about this they will pull people off the job (union jobs specifically). Coletti also said the industry has asked city and state officials to give 28 to 48 hours notice before any shutdown so they could be better prepared.
  • Orlando Sentinel: VP Mike Pence asking construction companies to donate N95 respirator masks.

March 17th, 2020

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