On March 18, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.6 limiting non-essential business. Today, New York State expanded its guidance on Executive Order 202.6 to include construction as a non-essential business, with limited exceptions for utility work, infrastructure projects, and work on hospitals, affordable housing and homeless shelters. Emergency construction is also exempt from the Order as essential construction, and is allowed to continue if necessary to protect the health and safety of the occupants or to avoid unsafe conditions due to an unfinished project. In such cases, sites will be allowed to continue operating only until it is safe to shut down the site. For the purposes of the Order, construction work performed by single workers who are the sole workers on the job site is allowed to continue. Sites that remain in operation must observe social distancing and safety best practices. Violators of the Order could face fines up to $10,000 per violation.
Previously, the Order classified all construction as essential. In contrast, the new guidance provides a list of essential construction, though it is unclear whether such list is meant to be exhaustive.