NAIOP Massachusetts Update

04/21/20


Governor Signs Eviction Legislation, Boston Issues Construction Safety Protocols

Boston Issues Construction Site Safety Protocols
Due to the public health emergency caused by the spread of COVID-19, the City of Boston announced new protocols for essential construction work. All essential construction sites must now submit a COVID-19 Safety Plan and a COVID-19 Safety Affidavit. These policies go into effect on April 27th for all essential construction. Nothing in these new protocols changes what construction is currently allowable in the City of Boston right now, but when construction resumes, all projects will need to comply with this policy. Therefore, all projects are urged to provide this documentation as soon as possible. 
 
COVID-19 Safety Plan
This document will detail the job site practices that the contractor will follow to protect worker safety. Every contractor will be required to provide the City with this document when applying for a permit. If a job is already permitted, contractors must provide this document by April 27 or before work starts.
 
There are six key elements the City will be looking for in each plan: 1.) steps taken before shifts start to ensure workers are healthy; 2.) practices to ensure social distancing that can be achieved on the job site; 3.) materials provided to ensure job site hygiene; 4.) protocols for the use of personal protective equipment; 5.) communications and training practices to ensure everyone is informed; and 6.) procedures in case there is COVID-19 exposure on the job site.To help with this, the City has provided a Safety Plan Worksheet (available here) for guidance.
 
COVID-19 Safety Affidavit
This affidavit (available here) attests that the contractor has created, provided to the City, and will implement its COVID-19 Safety Plan. It follows the same requirements as the Safety Plan. Failure to adhere to the policy may result in approval to work being revoked. 
 
Questions about the updated policies are due by April 22, and can be submitted by email to construction@boston.gov.
 
Governor Signs Eviction Moratorium Into Law 
Today Governor Baker signed H. 4647 An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency, which institutes moratoriums on non-emergency evictions of residents and small businesses in the Commonwealth. 
 
NAIOP recognizes the importance of helping small businesses who have been impacted by this crisis and we are happy to see that, in these uncertain times, the final bill includes language that serves small businesses and commercial landlords across the Commonwealth. While the bill provides protection from evictions, it does not relieve a tenant from the obligation to pay rent or restrict a landlord’s ability to recover rent. In addition, in contrast to the original bill that passed in the House, the language does not apply to all commercial tenants, but rather focuses on those that need help now – small businesses. It also allows for commercial landlords to exercise contractual remedies. 
 
The protections extend for 120 days from the date it is signed by Governor Baker or 45 days after the emergency declaration has been lifted, whichever is sooner. If the State of Emergency is extended beyond May 4, the Governor may not extend this emergency legislation for more than 45 days after the emergency declaration is lifted. 
 
NAIOP is grateful to the many members who provided technical expertise on this issue and worked diligently to ensure the concerns of our industry were reflected in the final language. 
 
To stay up to date on ways that COVID-19 is affecting CRE in Massachusetts, visit the NAIOP update page.  

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