New York State, Pennsylvania Halt Construction

The economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic deepened with the news that construction would be halted on all "non-essential" construction in the state of New York and in Pennsylvania.

2 minute read

March 30, 2020, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Construction Industry

A construction worker in Buffalo, New York on March 25, 2020. | Michele Lynn jasen / Shutterstock

On March 26, news was starting to spread around construction sites in Philadelphia that work would be stopping as a result of an order last week by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. "The City of Philadelphia allowed an additional eight days, until this Friday evening to close their construction sites," reports Jake Blumgart.

In Blumgart’s article, the concern immediately turns to construction workers, especially workers on small residential projects, which mostly include on-union immigrants. There are also concerns about protecting projects from the elements and thieves during the work stoppage, which explains the eight-day grace period allowed in the city of Philadelphia.

On March 27, the state of New York ratcheted up its work stoppage guidelines for construction projects, by order of Empire State Development, the umbrella organization for New York's two principal economic development public-benefit corporations, the New York State Urban Development Corporation and the New York Job Development Authority.

"The order from Empire State Development will temporarily suspend a wide swath of residential and commercial construction, while allowing some work deemed necessary — like building hospitals, infrastructure projects, affordable housing and homeless shelters — to continue," report Janaki Chadha. 

"The new restrictions follow a wide-ranging order from Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week that deemed all construction 'essential' — spurring pushback from elected officials and workers who had to report as usual to job sites around the city while the in-person operations of numerous other industries were halted," adds Chadha.

In each case, the question of what kind of construction work qualifies as "essential" during the pandemic is central to each state's situation. In each case, the construction of hospitals and other medical facilities are considered essential. In New York, essential construction also includes infrastructure projects, affordable housing, and homeless shelters.

Thursday, March 26, 2020 in WHYY

Aerial view of snowy single-family homes in suburban Long Island, New York

New York Governor Advances Housing Plan Amid Stiff Suburban Opposition

Governor Kathy Hochul’s ambitious proposal to create more housing has once again run into a brick wall of opposition in New York’s enormous suburbs, especially on Long Island. This year, however, the wall may have some cracks.

March 20, 2023 - Mark H. McNulty

Empty parking garage at night with yellow lines marking spots and fluorescent lighting

Rethinking the Role of Parking in the American City

In cities big and small, the tide is turning against sprawling parking lots, car-centric development, and minimum parking mandates.

March 16, 2023 - The New York Times

A futuristic version of New York City, with plants growing neatly on top of modern skycrapers.

Friday Eye Candy: 20 AI-Generated Cityscapes

AI-generated images are creating new landscapes and cityscapes, capable of inspiring awe or fear.

March 17, 2023 - Chris Steins via Medium

"For Rent" sign in yard of red building

Rent Increases Highest for Lowest-Income Households

Renters at the lower end of the spectrum see no relief in sight as rent hikes remain stubbornly high.

1 hour ago - Marketplace

Rendering of Baylor Scott & White Health Administrative Center in Deep Ellum, Dallas, Texas

A Dallas Architect Designs Statement Buildings With a Purpose

The Dallas Morning News’ architecture critic profiles one of the city’s most important current architects.

3 hours ago - The Dallas Morning News

A mountain range at sunset appears in the background of this photo, with cacti in the foreground.

Biden Designates a New National Monument in West Texas

The Castner Range National Monument in West Texas is the second of two new national monuments announced by President Joe Biden this week.

5 hours ago - The White House

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

HUD’s 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.