Walsh extends Boston’s construction ban
(Workers at the Winthrop Center Tower wrap up loose ends, Tuesday, March 17, 2020.)
Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Wednesday said he was extending the city’s construction ban until further notice amid the ongoing effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Walsh on March 16 said all construction sites would need to be locked down for safety by March 23. At the time, he said they could potentially re-open in two weeks, depending on updated public health information.
“The safety and health of construction workers and all residents of Boston is my first priority, and I am not willing to put that at risk as the virus spreads throughout our communities,” said Walsh in a statement. “Large gatherings such as those at construction sites have been proven to escalate the spread of the virus, and Boston must do everything in its power to flatten the curve, and stop the spread of coronavirus.”
The ban has halted some 21.4 million square feet across 97 projects. The city of Cambridge has also halted construction.
Gov. Charlie Baker, meanwhile, has not halted construction across the commonwealth. In a press conference Wednesday, Baker stressed that sites would be kept safe with workers having access to sinks with soap and warm water, and with crews keeping a safe distance of at least six feet.
“Local communities have made clear to us that they look forward to ensuring the sites in their communities that are engaged in that activity will live up to those standards, and if they don’t, they’ll do something about it,” Baker said.
Boston’s construction ban does not include work deemed essential, such as emergency utility, road or building work, and work at public health facilities. Boston will review requests for exemptions to the construction moratorium on a case-by-case basis, the city said.