In response to questions from ABC Empire State, AGC NYS and others in the industry, Empire State Development (ESD) has this morning advised the industry that the designation of construction as essential applies to "all construction." This confirmation was provided to my colleagues at AGC NYS and I thank them for sharing it with us.

In the correspondence from ESD, they made it clear they are being deluged by requests and questions from businesses relative to the Governor's Executive Order. They have requested that, in light of this clarification, firms engaged in construction refrain from seeking project specific waivers so ESD Staff work to handle an overwhelming volume of calls and e-mails.

The COVID-19 Merit Messenger COVID-19 from yesterday follows this message in case you missed it. As we’ve mentioned many times, this is an incredibly fluid situation and as you see updates and changes can come at a moment’s notice. Please remain flexible with your work plans.

One additional item for you to consider. Yesterday, several people asked if we really should be moving projects forward at this time. That is not something that we can advise. Our job is to be your advocate and fight for your right to continuing working or stop projects. We highly recommend that you talk with your clients and owners about your project(s). If you jointly agree that it makes sense to stand down for now then please proceed accordingly. If you decide its best to keep working, then please use good commonsense and implement best practices.

We will continue to monitor the situation and report important developments as they arise. And they will arise at some point. As always, we’re here to help with any questions or concerns.

Brian Sampson, President
Associated Builders and Contractors, Empire State Chapter
As part of the PAUSE initiative, New Yorkers have been directed to maintain six feet of distance from others. If you have to go out in public for an essential activity such as grocery shopping, keep six feet of distance between yourself and others. Public transportation will continue running. However, New Yorkers are being advised to limit the use of public transportation to only when absolutely necessary.
To protect our vulnerable populations, the Governor announced "Matilda's Law." Matilda's Law, provides new protections for the most vulnerable populations: New Yorkers age 70 or older, people with compromised immune systems and those with underlying illnesses. The law includes new rules: These groups should remain indoors (they can go out for solitary exercise) and pre-screen all visitors/aides by taking their temperature. Everyone in the presence of vulnerable people should wear a mask and keep six feet of distance.
New York State has a critical need for medical supplies. If your business or company has or can make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as gowns, gloves, or masks, please email
In an effort to help New Yorkers suffering financially, the Governor announced a 90-day moratorium on any residential or commercial evictions. 
New Yorkers who feel sick to use telehealth services before going to an ER or the doctor's office. Individuals should consult a telehealth medical professional and discuss if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health.

Coronavirus Guidance for Contractors 
Contracts, Compliance and Costs
The potential impacts of the Coronavirus to the construction industry are wide reaching. Consequences on a project site can include quarantines or other governmental actions resulting in impacts to the project work force. Offsite impacts can cover a much broader scope of issues including labor shortages at factories of manufacturers or fabrication facilities, resulting in production delays, transportation embargoes causing project supply issues, or governmental actions which inhibit manufacturing and production causing supply chain shortages and inabilities to service existing demands. 

Long known for leadership and innovation in construction law, Peckar & Abramson has issued guidance for Empire Chapter members trying to navigate contracts in the wake of the Coronavirus. Click here to view the document.
Federal Government Passes Sick Leave Law
On March 18, President Donald Trump signed the  Families First Coronavirus Response Act  into law.

The legislation is an emergency intervention to provide paid leave and other support to millions of workers sidelined by school closures, quarantines and caregiving.

If your employer has 500 or more workers, it is excluded from the new law. Instead, workers at those companies will need to rely on any remaining sick leave benefits available under company policy or state law.

If your company employs fewer than 500 people, you should be covered by the new law. However, businesses with fewer than 50 employees can make use of a hardship  exemption ,  if providing leave might put them out of business.

Lawmakers Pass Emergency Coronavirus
Paid Sick Leave Bill
New York now requires all private and public sector employees be eligible for sick leave and wage replacement while they are quarantined, regardless of whether it's mandatory or precautionary.

The degree of paid leave depends on the size of the employer:

  • Small sized employers, which includes employers with 10 or fewer employees and that have a net income of less than $1 million, would receive unpaid sick leave and immediately become eligible for Paid Family Leave and Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) benefits.

  • Medium sized employers, which includes employers with 10 or fewer employees that have a net income of greater than $1 million and employers with between 11 and 99 employees, would receive at least five days of paid sick leave, followed by eligibility for Paid Family Leave and TDI benefits.

  • Employers with 100 or more employees, as well as all public employees, would receive a minimum of 14 days of paid sick leave.

Please contact the Empire Chapter with any questions you may have about the new sick leave and wage replacement.
NYC Department of Buildings COVID-19 Update
New York City Department of Buildings has released more information concerning how the industry will be progressing forward during this uncharted time. Please see attached service bulletins and best practices. Further, they are continuing to reduce in-person interactions between industry professionals and Department personnel in response to the COVID-19 Virus. Beginning Tuesday, March 24, 2020, there will be no in-person appointments with plan examiners. 

*The recording is available to ABC members in management positions on the  Academy site *

Length: 60 minutes
Speakers:  Maury Baskin, Littler Mendelson P.C.; Brad Hammock, Littler Mendelson P.C.
ABC Members Only
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and we are already hearing about construction employees testing positive on jobsites. Join ABC general counsel Maury Baskin and ABC OSHA counsel Brad Hammock for a webinar providing guidance to ABC members and chapter staff on employer and employee responsibilities as well as OSHA reporting and recording.

*The recording is available to ABC members in management positions on the  Academy site *

Length:60 minutes
Speakers:  Anirban Basu, ABC Chief Economist
ABC Members Only
Get the latest data on the spread of COVID-19, market responses and economic consequences from ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu.

*The recording is available to ABC members in management positions on the  Academy site *

Length: 60 minutes
Speakers:  Aron Beezley, Bradley; James Collura, Bradley; David Pugh, Bradley
ABC Members Only
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, and we are already hearing of employees testing positive on projects across America. Do you know what the impact of COVID-19 is on your contracts? Join David Pugh, partner at Bradley, for a webinar providing guidance to ABC members and chapter staff on the impact of coronavirus on contracts.

*Hosted by Littler Mendelson P.C., ABC General Counsel Maury Baskin's firm*

Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Time: 12 p.m. EDT
Length: 90 minutes
Speakers:  Alexis C. Knapp, Littler Mendelson P.C; Jeff Nowak, Littler Mendelson P.C; Jim A. Paretti, Jr., Littler Mendelson P.C


On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed into law the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which aims to provide initial relief to American workers of certain covered employers in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This new law requires covered employers to offer emergency paid leave in the form of a new mandatory paid sick leave benefit and expanded paid leave under the FMLA.
Targeted for an effective date of April 2, 2020, this new law raises just as many questions as answers. The speakers will offer an analysis of the new FMLA and paid sick leave provisions of the law and deliver practical counsel for employers navigating the requirements of the law.

Date: Tuesday, March 24, 2020
Time: 3 p.m. EDT
Length: 60 minutes
Speakers: Mike Bellaman, ABC National, Joel Pickering, Lend Lease; Frank Trujillo, Miller & Long; Jorge Vasquez, Marek; Steve Wiltshire, ABC National (Moderator: Greg Sizemore, ABC National)

ABC Members Only
ABC National Safety and Health Committee members discuss proactive approaches and share best practices employers and employees can implement to maintain a safe and healthy jobsite during the coronavirus pandemic.

Date:Thursday, March 26, 2020
Time: 3 p.m. EDT
Length: 60 minutes
Speakers: David Chapin, Willmar Electric Service; Chuck Goodrich, Gaylor Electric; Mike Holland, Marek; Brett McMahon, Miller and Long (Moderator: Mike Bellaman, ABC National)

ABC Members Only

Hear how leaders from ABC’s Top Performers list are leading their organization, addressing employee and jobsite health and safety challenges and managing their client concerns related to coronavirus.