Berkeley’s construction restrictions reflect Bay Area guidelines

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While most of the state has relatively relaxed rules for construction work during the COVID-19 crisis, the hard-hit San Francisco Bay area has imposed much more stringent conditions.

Here, for example, is a news release from the City of Berkeley issued on April 3:

NEW RESTRICTIONS ON ALLOWED CONSTRUCTION

Most construction now prohibited

The updated shelter-in-place order issued by the City of Berkeley’s Health Officer and six others prohibits most residential and commercial construction as one in a series of measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

These measures increase physical and social distancing, the most scientifically proven tools to slow the spread of this type of coronavirus. There are no medicines or vaccines approved to treat it, and a rapid increase of infections could overwhelm our healthcare system and put lives at risk.

Workers on the few allowed construction sites must keep at least six feet distance from one another at all times except when closer contact is immediately necessary to complete specific tasks. All sites must prepare a Site Specific Health and Safety Plan and post a social distancing protocol.

Construction is only allowed for:

  • healthcare facilities directly related to COVID-19 response shelters and temporary housing
  • shelters and temporary housing
  • affordable housing (projects must include at least 10% affordable units onsite)
  • projects that provide critical services to vulnerable individuals
  • public works projects deemed essential by the City
  • limited essential residential or business repairs, when the work is immediately necessary to ensure safety and habitability

Non-essential construction projects that are already in progress may send employees to the site only to secure it and protect previously completed construction from damage.

Reporting

If you have questions or concerns about an active construction project, email planning@cityofberkeley.info or call us at (510) 981-7410. We’ll need:

  • the project’s address
  • a short description of the activity you’re concerned about

If you know the contact information for the construction project, please include it in your message.

Enforcement

If the City finds that construction is occurring in violation of the Health Officer’s Order, we will send a warning letter to construction site supervisors instructing them to immediately halt activity.

If violations continue, anyone working on the job site is subject to criminal penalties of up to $1,000 per day, 90 days in jail or both.

Visit cityofberkeley.info/covid19 for additional information on COVID-19 and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health.

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