Boston rolling out construction rules

Boston rolling out construction coronavirus rules even as industry remains closed

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 15: Boston Mayor Martin Walsh speaks during a news conference outside Boston City Hall on April 15, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Angela Rowlings/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

Boston is rolling out guidelines for construction, a key step before opening work back up — though Mayor Martin Walsh isn’t allowing projects to go forward yet.

The mayor and city Chief Operations Officer Patrick Brophy sad the new guidelines will begin applying to essential construction starting April 27. For more than a month, the essential services like utility work is all that Walsh has allowed as coronavirus has spread.

The new guidelines will be expanded to all construction eventually, though Walsh said in a video on Friday afternoon that he’s not reopening construction yet. He said he would give two weeks’ notice before starting to open some construction, with another week before all construction would open back up.

“We must act quickly to ensure our workers health and safety especially during this peak of coronavirus cases,” Brophy said in the video.

The rules will now include all contractors needing to create a “COVID-19 safety plan” including how the contractor will enforce social distancing and provide the necessary sanitation. The contractors will have to sign affidavits swearing that they’ll follow these plans, and risk having their permits pulled if they don’t do so.

Walsh, a former labor leader who was head of the building trades in Boston, has said for weeks that he won’t open the construction industry back up until guidelines are in place.

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During what have become customary near-daily press conferences out in front of City Hall, Walsh on Friday further discouraged so-called “bandit” runners from trying to run the Boston Marathon route on Monday, Patriots Day, when the marathon normally would have been held.

“No one’s going to be clapping for you,” Walsh said. “Save your energy until Sept. 14.”

Officials last month decided to push the huge event off to September.

Walsh also said there will be city trucks roving around Boston, blasting out messages for coronavirus best practices in seven different languages from speakers.


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