Gov. Orders All Non-Essential Construction Shut Down

John Jordan | April 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo

NEW YORK—Most private construction in New York State, including major development projects in New Rochelle, Yonkers and White Plains, have been temporarily shut down as a means to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus Pandemic.

At a press briefing at the Javits Center in New York City on March 27, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo modified an earlier executive order and mandated all non-essential construction work across the state to shut down immediately.

The order will mean the temporary shutdown of major mixed-use development projects in the Hudson Valley and other development projects, such as the theme park and hotel component of the LEGOLAND New York project currently under construction in Goshen.

The new restrictions do not halt all work at the LEGOLAND New York project, however.

Matt Besterman, public relations manager for LEGOLAND New York, released a statement in response to the new construction restrictions and their impact on the project: “Adhering to updated guidance issued this morning by New York State in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, LEGOLAND® New York Resort is pausing construction of its theme park and hotel until further notice. We will provide updates about our plans as we know more. The roadway and bridge construction in connection with the new Exit 125 on Route 17 is deemed essential by New York State and will continue.”

On March 31, LEGOLAND New York announced it was postponing its theme park opening date from July 4, 2020 to sometime in 2021.

The governor’s order describes essential construction to include: public and private utilities including but not limited to power generation; fuel supply and transmission; public water and wastewater; telecommunications and data centers; airports/airlines; commercial shipping vessels/ports and seaports; transportation infrastructure such as bus, rail, for-hire vehicles, garages; hotels, and places of accommodation

The state also relates that essential construction work that may continue also includes projects involving: roads, bridges, transit facilities, utilities, hospitals or health care facilities, affordable housing and homeless shelters.

Operating under the designation as an essential business as modified by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, work crews continue to press forward with infrastructure renewal and environmental protection projects in the downstate New York region, according to construction industry trade organization The Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. based in Tarrytown.

While certain projects have been slowed or delayed due to staffing shortages, contracting employers and organized labor leaders are hopeful key personnel and crews can continue to deliver on public projects, the CIC stated.

“Construction work is continuing and we’re taking every precaution to ensure everyone is safe, protected and productive,” said John Cooney, Jr., executive director of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc. “Crews are showing up fit for duty and public agencies are planning to continue with bid lettings for projects, even as work-arounds to accommodate social distancing are ironed out.”

The CIC added that contractors are revising protocols to keep workers and the public safe and to mitigate coronavirus transmission. Cooney described the manner in which the industry is working as “uber-attentive” to changing conditions. “We have safety protocols on projects and in jobsite trailers like I’ve never witnessed in my 40 years of working in construction.”

John Jordan
Editor, Real Estate In-Depth