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Walsh orders halt to all construction in Boston, shuts libraries and community centers

Mayor Walsh today ordered all construction companies to secure their sites and stop all work by Monday for at least two weeks and said both city libraries and community centers will be shut - libraries tonight, community centers on Wednesday - to try to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Walsh also announced a $20-million Boston Resiliency Fund to help healthcare workers and first responders find childcare and to ensure families don't go hungry as their breadwinners lose their jobs.He said several large employers have already made contributions.

The end of construction work on new buildings andlarge renovation projects could put "tens of thousands" of people out of work, Walsh acknowledged. Walsh urged construction companies to formally lay off workers, rather than fire them, so that they can be brought back to work quickly once the crisis is over. Boston, he said, continues to have a robust construction business. He added that contractors working on wood buildings will need to take particular efforts to secure their buildings against possibly catching fire.

Walsh said shutting the libraries was a particularly hard decision because of the large numbers of people they serve. He said that fines on books are waived until May 1.

He added that a few community centers will remain partially open if they have been designated as distribution sites for BPS students to pick up food.

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Comments

It is borderline negligence that Walsh still has non-essential city workers coming into City Hall and other city offices. What is he doing? They can contract or spread the disease, and a lot have kids in the school system that is closing and need to be home with them. City workers and their families always vote and will remember this next year.

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Voting closed 9

Great! Can they start in Dorchester?

An excavation crew thought today was a great opportunity to close 3 of 4 lanes on Columbia Road.
Also, a sidewalk improvements crew on Hancock between Bowdoin and Pleasant St closed one side of the road, forcing alternating traffic in one lane on the other side (in part because nobody is enforcing the CONSTRUCTION NO PARKING signs on the other side) without a police detail or flagger. Previous 311 complaint on that job got closed (eventually) with no action taken.

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Voting closed 16

Thousands of constructions workers just lost their jobs (many of whom may not come pack) - sorry for had to wait an extra minute to pass a jobsite on Columbia road. In times like these, let's not always think about ourselves. Try harder

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Voting closed 67

Safety.

Not delays.

Read harder.

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Voting closed 19

I’d say that since most people are working from home and there are NO school buses on the roads that it was the perfect time to close the road to traffic considering they were probably expecting a job site closure in the near future.

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Voting closed 7

There is more risk on the MBTA than on the average jobsite.

FML.

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Voting closed 37

Is Walsh shit-canning all contracting and renovation work, or just new construction?
Are they freezing all building permits?

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Voting closed 17

Sorry if I wasn't clear. He meant places where new buildings are being constructed and there are lots of workers on site - rather than, say, a contractor coming into your house to re-do a bathroom or whatever.

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Voting closed 21

@adamg has the city officially clarified that this doesn’t include home renovation?

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Voting closed 8

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Peace and quiet.

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Voting closed 6

All of it is on hold for 2 weeks at least.

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I called 311 with this question. They said that, starting Monday, all work is supposed to stop, even small remodeling projects done by single contractors. The only exceptions are for emergencies, such as a failed water heater, broken front door, etc. However, if a unit is unoccupied and is mid-kitchen renovation, work is supposed to stop by Monday.

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Voting closed 2

Temporary Guidance for Construction in the City of Boston
March 16, 2020
On March 16, the City of Boston announced that it would temporarily pause some non-essential construction in the City of Boston.
This is done to stem the current public health crisis and support the health of workers in the city.
The City will still allow work that is essential to the safety and well-being of our residents at this time - particularly work related to this public health crisis.
That essential work includes:
● Emergency utility, road or building work, such as gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes;
● New utility connections to occupied buildings;
● Mandated building or utility work;
● Work at public health facilities, healthcare facilities, shelters, including
temporary shelters and other facilities that support vulnerable populations;
● Work which ensures the reliability of the transportation network;
● Other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully
habitable.
In addition to the list of essential construction projects, the City will, on a case-by-case basis, review requests for exceptions to the temporary construction moratorium. These may be granted by the Commissioner of Inspectional Services for building-related work or the Commissioner of Public Works for street-related work. These will be granted if they support increased public health and safety.
This policy is effective as of March 17 and will be reviewed at regular intervals. New projects cannot be started at this time, unless they meet the criteria above. Any currently permitted and active construction project must be in a secure situation by Monday, March 23. This policy only applies to projects permitted by the City of Boston.

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Voting closed 3

Keeping City Hall open is irresponsible. Allow employees to work from home for all the reasons you spelled out for other employers to do so in your presser

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Voting closed 38

Can the Mayor shut down work on MBTA and Massport properties?

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Voting closed 4

He cannot - That is the Governor's responsibility

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Mixed
With agencies like those... City can't exactly control/direct them, but does have some power in permits and inspections.
...and if state agency doesn't respect the little slice of power of City (or city agencies) City will not hesitate to exert their power to fullest degree.

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Voting closed 4

Why is it all schools library and construction etc closed or shut down but School custodians being forced and are still in schools working without proper protection or any reguard for there safety of families

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Voting closed 4

Hopefully the Mayor's office will issue some clarification. Does this just apply to major construction projects (the big buildings with cranes) or to smaller projects as well? What about remodeling work, roofing, etc.? How about repairs underway to make a house habitable because of a fire or other damage? Is there a number of workers standard? Will ISD hold up issuing all new permits? etc. etc.

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Voting closed 7

Where there'd be lots of workers on site. But I don't know how far down you take it. For example, the renovation of the old Barnes & Noble building on Washington Street seems like it would be covered. But your roof? I'll see if I can find out.

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Voting closed 12

The goal is to stop construction work involving ten or more people on a site, so, according to the mayor's office:

The City will allow work that is essential to the safety and well-being of residents at this time, particularly work related to this public health crisis, which includes work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable, as long as the construction crews needed to complete the work are under 10 people.

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Voting closed 6

“Essential to the safety and well-being of residents” seems subjective and subject to lawyering.

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According to 311, the stoppage is for all non-emergency work. If an unoccupied unit is mid-kitchen renovation, it is supposed to stop by Monday. Only responses to emergencies such as a tree limb falling on your roof, hot water heater bites the dust, etc., can proceed.

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Voting closed 5

Deb_B, did you get the information on when home renovations need to stop by directly from 311? By phone or some other way? We are looking for something official to share with our landlord.

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Reached out to Boston Inspectional Services & was told flatly that they "are not issuing any new permits." I asked about emergencies, like a leaking roof? & was told the ISD Commissioner would have to approve that. Has the mayor changed the original shutdown order? Or is this the bureaucracy taking liberties to restrict more?

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Voting closed 6

The whole notice:

Temporary Guidance for Construction in the City of Boston
March 16, 2020
On March 16, the City of Boston announced that it would temporarily pause some non-essential construction in the City of Boston.
This is done to stem the current public health crisis and support the health of workers in the city.
The City will still allow work that is essential to the safety and well-being of our residents at this time - particularly work related to this public health crisis.
That essential work includes:
● Emergency utility, road or building work, such as gas leaks, water leaks and sinkholes;
● New utility connections to occupied buildings;
● Mandated building or utility work;
● Work at public health facilities, healthcare facilities, shelters, including
temporary shelters and other facilities that support vulnerable populations;
● Work which ensures the reliability of the transportation network;
● Other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully
habitable.
In addition to the list of essential construction projects, the City will, on a case-by-case basis, review requests for exceptions to the temporary construction moratorium. These may be granted by the Commissioner of Inspectional Services for building-related work or the Commissioner of Public Works for street-related work. These will be granted if they support increased public health and safety.
This policy is effective as of March 17 and will be reviewed at regular intervals. New projects cannot be started at this time, unless they meet the criteria above. Any currently permitted and active construction project must be in a secure situation by Monday, March 23. This policy only applies to projects permitted by the City of Boston.

For a leaking roof, perhaps see above under "other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable."

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Voting closed 4

When is Marty Walsh going to non-essential send city employees home? There are people there are in their 50's and 60's who should be home. Have the younger, healthy workers stay if need be, and pay them overtime. City employees are talking about this and noticing their leader doesn't seem to care about them.

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Voting closed 14

This is exactly how we are feeling. Has spoken on everything but his own employees.

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