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Loosen Up: DOB Rescinds Mask Rules and Other COVID-19 Construction Rules

Learn what this means for NYC construction going forward.

With vaccination rates up, New York is loosening many COVID-19 restrictions. And the construction industry is no different.

As of July 8, 2021, the NYC Department of Buildings has rescinded multiple rules for construction sites put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here’s our breakdown of what has rolled back, and what it means for the future.

What’s Changing (Back)

  • Vaccinated construction workers no longer have to wear masks on construction sites.
  • Social distancing and capacity limit requirements have lifted as well, including the 50% tightly confined space and elevator capacity limits.
  • Hand hygiene stations are no longer required.
  • Sites are no longer required to keep cleaning logs, contact logs, or screening logs for inspection.
  • Employers no longer need site-specific communication and health safety plans.
  • Employers no longer need to submit and display an affirmation that they have understood NYS COVID guidelines.
  • Sites will no longer need to assign a Safety Monitor.
  • Rules for securing and reopening construction sites shut down due to COVID are now officially rescinded.
  • On a more minor note, hotels will no longer be able to act as temporary student housing.

What Does This Mean?

NYC construction was one of the first industries to come back. But it was not without restrictions, or heavy violation fines.

Thankfully, it appears the rules did their job. New York State construction sites only contributed to 0.66% of transmissions during Fall 2020, according to December 2020 contact tracing data.

Still, this shift back should be a relief for building owners and workers. By removing procedural hurdles and risk for COVID-related SWOs , it should help construction sites return to typical working order.

It’s a particular relief for vaccinated workers doing jobs outside in the hot summer months, which may encourage still-unvaccinated workers to get their shots.

However, property owners and contractors might want to consider keeping certain practices in place. For example, regular cleaning and disinfecting, as well as easy access to hand-washing stations, would help ease the transition and would benefit in cases such as cold and flu season.

Unvaccinated workers should continue to exercise caution. Even if vaccinated, workers who have symptoms should stay home or be sent home.

In addition, while inspectors will no longer be checking for face mask and social distancing compliance, the DOB is currently cracking down on other worker safety issues. Its latest sweep of inspections has condemned over 300 sites in June 2021 alone, so be on the lookout. Check out our guidance on those safety sweeps here.

For assistance with violations or any other code matters, please reach out to Outsource Consultants today.



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