Construction Advisory of the Mayor and Board of Health
Update (3/25/2020): The Somerville Construction Advisory issued on Monday, March 23rd, remains in full force. The City of Somerville had previously issued Construction COVID-19 Safety Guidelines to allow construction to move forward with site-specific safety plans ensuring social distancing and following state and federal safety guidelines for COVID-19. Upon review of those plans and through spot site checks, we discovered we could not at this time control for every factor to ensure safe social distancing and other health and safety guidelines, particularly due to Somerville’s dense urban environment. Therefore, to protect the workers on these sites, their families, and everyone they come into contact with, the City of Somerville construction suspension remains in full force. Worksite managers with questions should contact their City Project Manager or Inspector.
The purpose of this advisory is to provide guidance on Governor Baker’s March 23, 2020 COVID-19 Order No. 13 as it relates to the construction projects in the City of Somerville.
The Governor has ordered all non-essential businesses to close operation until April 7, 2020, with the exception of essential businesses listed in Exhibit A of Order No. 13. In the implementation and guidance section of the Order it states that, “[t]he Department of Public Health, along with any board of health or authorized agent pursuant to G.L. c. 111, § 30, shall enforce this order and if necessary may do so with the assistance of State or municipal police.”
Construction related services deemed potentially essential include: construction of critical or strategic public works infrastructure, construction of utilities, and work related to community-based essential construction sites including housing. For the purposes of this Order and to minimize the spread of COVID-19, Somerville, through the Mayor and the Board of Health’s authorized agent, is defining “critical” construction to be that which is immediately required to preserve the health and safety of the public, and to maintain utility services to currently occupied buildings.
While construction projects currently underway in Somerville are important to the long-term functioning of our infrastructure and to achieve our goals, most construction activities do not have as instantaneous a need as we face to stop the spread of COVID-19. To that end, Somerville is ordering all construction projects to cease general construction operations, establish services necessary to occupy in-use buildings, and make their sites safe to the general public. With few exceptions that must be approved by the Director of Inspection Services Department for private construction and the Director of Infrastructure and Asset Management for City projects, all sites must be secured by Friday, March 27th. Exceptions will be carefully scrutinized and will include allowances for minimally staffed efforts using safe protocols to secure sites to the elements to prevent damage and ensure public safety.
If you wish to appeal the City’s determination, you may do so at: https://www.mass.gov/forms/essential-service-designation-request
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