By: John Perten
March 26, 2020
Governor Baker’s emergency order shutting down all brick and mortar businesses went into effect at noon on 3/24. As previously reported, the order raises as many questions as it answers. As to the construction industry, we continue to think that the order is ambiguous but it appears that the consensus is that those working in the construction industry are deemed “essential” and therefore exempt from the order. We know anecdotally that many construction professionals continue to work, and so far we have not heard of anyone being shut down.
That being said, there continues to be concern about how to reconcile the differences between the Governor’s order and the local orders of cities and towns. Most notably, Boston and Cambridge have issued orders which preclude construction projects. There are other cities and towns who have similar orders. Which order trumps which? This remains to be determined. For now, contractors are well advised to check with the city or town in which they are working to determine whether there is a conflicting order and, if so, what position that city or town is taking. We suspect that clarification will be forthcoming.