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Politics

Malliotakis Urges Cuomo to Reevaluate Non-Essential Construction in NYS

NEW YORK – New York State Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis on April 27 asked Governor Cuomo to reconsider sectors that can reopen in May beginning with work performed outdoors such as construction, home improvement, pool installation and maintenance, and landscaping for the entire state, not just Upstate New York.

“I have had several calls from roofers, fencing companies, painters and pool maintenance and installation companies, who perform work outdoors and want to reopen their businesses. This type of outdoor work is a good first step to getting our economy off the ground while retaining strict safety guidelines to protect both employees and the community,” Malliotakis wrote.

“As we are both aware, the job reports are staggering so it is imperative that we start sending people back to work as soon and safely as possible while maintaining public health as our top priority. If we begin with easing the restrictions on outdoor construction and home improvement work in both upstate and downstate, we can begin the slow economic recovery process,” Malliotakis added.

The full text of the letter follows:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor of New York State

NYS State Capitol Building

Albany, NY 12224

April 27, 2020

Dear Governor Cuomo:

Thank you for your efforts to begin opening up our economy and evaluating it from a regional perspective. While I agree that construction, where work is done outdoors, is a good sector to begin with, I would like you to consider downstate for this reopening as well depending on the scope of the work.

I believe reevaluating what the state has considered non-essential in Executive Order 202, such as landscaping or construction on single and two-family homes, would be a good step in ensuring that all regions of New York resume at least some economic activity come May 15.

Currently, construction on “affordable housing” throughout the state is considered “essential” while similar work on a single-family home or commercial property is not. If the construction workers work on staggered work shifts and break times while wearing proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and maintaining the required social distancing, a clean and safe work environment in outdoor space or unoccupied indoor space can be provided.

In his Executive Order 122, Governor Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey allows projects already underway involving single- family homes with a construction crew of 5 or fewer individuals. It also extends to projects already underway involving a residential unit for which a tenant or buyer has already entered into a legally binding agreement to occupy the unit by a certain date and construction is necessary to ensure the availability by that date. Of course, all safety guidelines are being enforced.

Additionally, I ask that you review your criteria involving any and all jobs performed completely outdoors for the entire state as long as the proper safety and social distancing guidelines are followed. For example, landscapers are currently only permitted to work for maintenance or pest control but not for cosmetic purposes. That distinction does not make any sense if all precautions are taken. By removing that distinction, we will be allowing more of our work force to get back to work and earn a living. In addition, I have had several calls from roofers, fencing companies, painters and pool maintenance and installation companies, who perform work outdoors and want to reopen their businesses. This type of outdoor work is a good first step to getting our economy off the ground while retaining strict safety guidelines to protect both employees and the community.

As we are both aware, the job reports are staggering so it is imperative that we start sending people back to work as soon and safely as possible while maintaining public health as our top priority. If we begin with easing the restrictions on outdoor construction and home improvement work in both upstate and downstate, we can begin the slow economic recovery process.

But now that it appears that the worst part of the COVID-19 outbreak is over, it is imperative that all facilities begin to develop protocols to deal with prioritizing surgeries based on issues related to medical necessity and time sensitivity. State government must begin to facilitate the return of the wide range of procedures categorized as elective surgery for the benefit of those patients in need, our medical facilities and the tens of thousands New Yorkers they employ.

Sincerely,

Nicole Malliotakis

Member of the Assembly

64th District

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