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Cambridge Issues Ban On Construction Over Coronavirus Fears

The Kendall Square skyline in East Cambridge

Construction sites on both sides of the Charles River Basin will now go dark to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Cambridge officials Wednesday issued a temporary emergency construction moratorium on all public and private construction activity “until further notice,” according to a statement signed by Cambridge's city manager, head of public health, commissioner of public works and commissioner of inspection services.

The work halt aims to lessen the potential spread of the coronavirus to construction workers and the general public. Public health officials around the world recommend social distancing and self-quarantining to combat the spread of the virus. 

The moratorium comes after Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced Monday construction companies had until March 23 to wind down activity as a precaution against spreading the coronavirus. 

There were 256 known cases of the coronavirus in Massachusetts as of Thursday morning. 

Similar to the Boston ban, Cambridge will only allow construction work on buildings or infrastructure in the case of an emergency. The Cambridge Commissioner of Inspectional Services has to approve work exemptions for buildings, and the Commissioner of Public Works has to sign off on work exemptions for infrastructure.

The Cambridge order called for a halt to issuing building licenses and permits by Thursday morning. Nonessential construction work has to cease by the end of Saturday, and crews will have until the end of March 26 to wind down activity and secure sites. 

While Boston and Cambridge have issued bans on construction, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday he did not currently have plans for a statewide moratorium. Other cities where the virus has spread, like New York, D.C., Toronto and Houston, are still allowing construction to proceed.