Work on luxury condos, commercial office buildings and other projects deemed non-essential was ordered to stop in the state of New York on Friday, 27 March to help combat the spread of the coronavirus.
The order remains in effect until 15 April.
New York State is the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, with 59,513 coronavirus cases as of yesterday (29 March), and at least 965 deaths, according to CNN figures.Â
New York City had 33,474 cases as of yesterday, and 776 deaths, the city said. At least 6,635 people have been hospitalised. Of those, at least 1,520 were in intensive care.
Now is not time for the exploitation of loopholes to allow nonessential work to continue in a way that will endanger members of our industry and the public– Joseph Geiger, New York City District Council of Carpenters and Joiners of America
Projects considered essential include health care facilities, transport infrastructure, utilities, affordable housing, and homeless shelters in the order given by state Governor Andrew Cuomo (pictured), seconded by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.
At sites deemed essential, fines of up to $10,000 will be levied for violations of social distancing rules, including in elevators, canteens and site entrances, said guidance on the executive order.
Sites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close, to be enforced by city and local governments.
"So luxury condos will not be built until this is over, office buildings are not going to be built. So that work’s going to end immediately. We need to protect people," Mayor de Blasio told CBS New York.
The move was welcomed by the union, the New York City District Council of Carpenters and Joiners of America (NYCDCC).
"Governor Cuomo’s order to temporarily shut down nonessential construction in New York will keep many construction workers safe and ultimately save many lives," said NYCDCC Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Joseph A. Geiger.Â
He added: "Now is not time for the exploitation of loopholes to allow nonessential work to continue in a way that will endanger members of our industry and the public."
Image: New York Governor Cuomo briefing press in Albany on 29 March 2020 (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)