Massachusetts Issues New Guidance on “Essential” “Construction-Related Activities” — Appears More Narrow

On March 31, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Baker replaced its prior list of “Essential Services” with a new list available online.

Missing from the new listing of “Essential Services” was the prior bullet point that stated construction workers who support the construction of projects was essential. That language from the March 23, 2020 Order is below:

While construction is mentioned a number of times as supporting other essential services, a new section titled “Construction-Related Activities” was added.  This appears to be more narrow than the bullet-point above in that it refers to specific industries as opposed to a blanket “construction project.” The new section is below.

While guidance/explanation is not currently available as to the scope of this change from the Governor, the new policy of “Essential Services” appears to be more narrow than the Exhibit A list of “Essential Services” issued on March 23, 2020.  Those industries that fall within March 31st listing of essential services include:

    • Energy Projects
    • Public works and transportation projects and projects managed by DCAMM
    • Construction and maintenance services required for buildings supporting essential infrastructure, COVID-19 relief efforts, residences, hospitals, health care facilities, senior living facilities
    • Housing related projects

Reference to the updated listing of essential businesses should be followed to make a complete determination.  The Order provides that that companies may request a designation as an essential business by visiting HERE.

I anticipate further guidance will be issued shortly to confirm whether the intent of the Governor was to narrow the scope of “essential” construction services in the Commonwealth.  I will provide updates as they arrive.

The new Order goes into effect on April 1, 2020 and continues through May 4.