Construction contractors in the Commonwealth may continue to operate and perform work on jobsites, subject to local municipal restrictions. Certain businesses are exempt from Governor Baker’s Order closing non-essential business operations until April 7th – this includes construction companies. Specifically, Governor Baker’s Order lists professions that are deemed “COVID-19 Essential Services,” which includes “Construction Workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction).”

In addition, the Public Works sections lists “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, inspectors and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, construction sites and projects, and needed facilities” as essential service providers. The Order is not completely clear whether all public projects throughout the state will continue to operate. Please contact your job’s awarding authority to determine if work will continue in public construction (vertical) projects.

Importantly, however, Boston and Cambridge have issued their own local orders closing down construction sites until further notice. These orders must be adhered to but have an “essential work” exception as well. For Boston, 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; and
  • Other work necessary to render occupied residential buildings fully habitable.

Cambridge has defined essential construction work as:

  • Emergency work in buildings or streets to address leaks or utility failures;
  • Utility connections or repairs if the cessation of such work poses a health or safety hazard;
  • Work essential for maintaining life-safety systems;
  • Work that ensures the safety and connectivity of the transportation network;
  • Emergency work necessary to make a building safe and sanitary/ such as repair to a failed heating, electrical or plumbing systems;
  • Work required In connection with the provision of health services related to COVID-19 at hospitals, health care facilities, health clinics and doctors’ offices;
  • Work associated directly with COVID-19 mitigation, such as temporary shetters, temporary health care facilities or related laboratory research;
  • Work to maintain all make-safe measures previously implemented at job sites;
  • Authorized building or utility work in order to render occupied buildings habltable; and
  • Work determined by the Commissioner of Inspectional Services or the Commissioner of Public Works as essential but not listed above

If you operate a construction business and have questions regarding the Governor’s Order and how it applies to your jobsites, Kenney & Sams, P.C. is here to assist you.


This alert is for informational purposes only and may be considered advertising.  It does not constitute the rendering of legal, tax or professional advice or services.  You should seek specific detailed legal advice prior to taking any definitive actions.