The city of Boston, Massachusetts, became one of the first major metropolitan areas to halt construction this week, after Mayor Marty Walsh announced the stop-work order on Monday.
The move came as part of a number of changes to everyday life for residents of Boston that look much like the actions taken by cities across the United States, such as closing public school systems, placing restrictions on group events, and retail and restaurant closings and restrictions.
Walsh ordered a shut down and work zones secured for at least the next 2 weeks. In the days following, industry organizations and contractors have come out both for and against the order and other cities are considering following Boston in the growing calls to halt any construction outside of the health care sector.
Per the mayor's statement, the only construction activity that will be allowed is emergency work, such as work at public facilities and repairs to utilities. The work must be approved by the Boston Inspectional Services Department. The department will also be approving work if it is somehow beneficial to public health and safety, such as hospital construction.
Associated General Contractors of America Chief Executive Officer Stephen Sandherr released a statement Tuesday, saying, "Given the precautions already in place, halting construction will do little to protect the health and safety of construction workers. But it will go a long way in undermining economic vitality by depriving millions of workers of the wages they will need over the coming days."
Sandherr said in his statement that most construction workers on jobsites are already wearing gloves and masks, creating a relatively safe environment. However, yesterday, President Trump called for construction companies to donate N95 masks to local hospitals and clinics.