New York updates cluster action guidance; points to prior, more restrictive definition of “Essential Construction” for Red Zones

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December 13, 2020:
New York State this weekend updated its metrics and guidance for its COVID Cluster Action Initiative. You can read the metrics and guidance at this link.
Based on these new metrics and guidance, if a region reaches “Red Zone” status, only essential businesses may operate. Notably, however, the new guidance points to the earlier, more restrictive definition of “essential” construction (item 9 at this link), eliminating the previous language in the cluster guidance that appeared to broadly deem construction as essential. Fortunately, the essential construction guidance now being referenced again is the version that incorporates the various guidance and determinations from ESD we had communicated back in the spring encompassing school construction, existing construction on behalf of essential businesses, etc. Again, as it stands at this time, any such restrictions for construction would only apply with a “Red Zone” designation.
As you may recall, AGC NYS last week led a statewide coalition of industry groups calling on Governor Cuomo to continue to deem construction essential as the State grapples with a renewed surge of COVID-19 cases. You can view that letter here.
We continue to believe construction can operate safely with appropriate health and safety precautions—and the Administration’s own data supports that view. On Friday, during his briefing, Governor Cuomo provided data that showed construction as the source of exposure in only .66% of COVID cases from September to November, according to contact tracing data.
AGC NYS and our industry partners will continue to both advocate for the broadest definition of essential construction. Our industry possesses the resources and expertise to work safely in this challenging environment, keeping a critical component of the economy functioning, New Yorkers working and supply chains functioning.
This is obviously an evolving situation and we anticipate we will be re-entering a period of frequent changes to these rules and guidance. We will continue to keep the membership informed of developments and will compile the latest information at our COVID-19 resource page, www.agcnys.org/coronavirus.
As always, the AGC NYS staff remains available at any time to address any questions, concerns or challenges you may have.