Last week, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo halted all non-essential construction, with the exception of certain emergency infrastructure projects. Still, some New Yorkers say that work has continued on non-essential sites anyway.
Now, a new tool from the city will help you determine whether that ear-splitting jack-hammering next door belongs to a desperately needed emergency hospital or a luxury developer trying to skirt the ban.
On Friday, the Department of Buildings published a “real-time map” of all essential and emergency work that’s still allowed to happen under the order. Such projects include construction of healthcare facilities, affordable housing, and utilities, along with emergency work to repair buildings and restore essential services, like heat and electricity. As of Friday, the city had identified a total of 887 construction sites deemed essential.
“An unprecedented crisis requires an unprecedented response,” DOB Commissioner Melanie La Rocca said in a statement. “To help keep New Yorkers safe during these uncertain times, we will be out in force to confirm non-essential sites have been closed down, and essential construction work continues in a safe manner.
On Monday, the DOB began an inspection sweep of the more than 35,000 non-essential construction sites across the city. Since then, they’ve issued more than 100 violations and stop work orders to sites that weren’t in compliance, an agency spokesperson told Gothamist.
“So far we have seen overwhelming compliance, with over 99 percent of the non-essential construction sites we have inspected during this sweep either closed, or winding down operations to make the sites safe,” the spokesperson added.
New Yorkers who come across a construction site they believe to be in violation of the state’s ban should contact the Department of Buildings through 311.