Mass. lawmakers push for stricter regulations to fight COVID-19

Some Mass. lawmakers want Baker to narrow 'essential' worker list, take action on stricter social distancing

BOSTON — Lawmakers from around the state want to see stricter regulations in place for workers still on the job in industries considered “essential.” They specifically talked about construction sites that are non-essential. Concerned workers reached out to lawmakers voicing their concerns.

“The wisest thing to do is be as aggressive as we can about shutting things down,” said Rep. Mike Connolly, who represents Cambridge and Somerville.

Connolly, along with at least 30 other lawmakers around the state, sent this letter to Gov. Charlie Baker.

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In part, the lawmakers are calling on the governor to “shut down all non-essential construction” by Friday, April 3.

"Some workers are walking out of job sites," Connolly said.

The governor has extended the stay-at-home advisory until May 4, closed all non-essential businesses, and limited social gatherings to 10 people.

But many construction workers are calling for more to be done.

“There is a lot of physical contact on a construction site,” Connolly said. “There is typically the use of porto-pottys with different people coming in and out.”

Connolly said workers and residents reached out to him on Twitter saying “The big construction companies doing LUXURY housing construction (not essential).”

Another Twitter message from a doctor, a frontline worker, said: "I see construction crews in close proximity – that is my life and the lives of my colleagues."

"If one worker is working on a particular piece of equipment, then the next person comes along, there are concerns there," Connolly said.

While Connolly was taking a walk in Cambridge, he noticed one site with this sign posted "Construction Zone PPE Required."

“We know that our healthcare workers and first responders are calling out for additional PPE,” Connolly said. “The governor ought to take action.”

In the letter, lawmakers are also ordering the governor to “look for additional ways to narrow the COVID-19 essential services” list, and to take stronger action to promote physical distancing.

“We haven’t see the peak of this disease yet,” Connolly said.

The governor’s office has received the letter, and will be reviewing it.

Connolly said he understands constructions sites that need to help combat this virus, yes, those are essential.