Group develops post-ban construction guidelines

Maximum of two workers would be allowed on site.

Draft guidelines for getting workers back on job sites after April 21 would only allow up to two workers at a time. — Lexi Pline

An Island working group made up of building commissioners, health officials, and trades people from across the Island has completed a draft of guidelines for construction workers to get back to work after the April 21 construction moratorium ends.

The draft guidelines were touched on briefly at a West Tisbury selectmen’s meeting Wednesday. 

The current moratorium, which was extended by all Island towns except Aquinnah, covers construction activity, work, maintenance, both interior and exterior of any kind, landscaping of any kind, and all work involving workers in all trades entering buildings and residences to perform their functions, including house cleaners. Emergency construction is exempt.

The draft is phase one of a multi phase plan to get builders and others back to work. 

Under phase one, up to two landscapers, carpenters, painters, or tradespeople would be allowed on a construction site or worksite at one time. Construction sites are defined as new construction, renovation, demolition, or addition of a structure. Worksites are defined as work that is not construction such as landscaping.

Signage for proper hand washing as well as how to prevent the spread of COVID-19 would have to be posted at job sites. Workers would also have to maintain proper social distancing practices.

Workers would be required to carry hand sanitizer and arrive by foot, bike, or single occupant vehicle. Traveling by ferry or bus would not be allowed.

Shared surfaces such as tools, door handles, bathrooms, and gates would have to be disinfected at the end of the day.

Construction sites are specifically required to have a hand washing station with water, soap, paper towels on a holder, and a trash bin. They must also have at least one bathroom.

If working with two people, workers would have to maintain a six-foot distance. All workers would have to wear gloves while on work sites except when not feasible.

The guidelines encourage workers to bring food from home and to not pick up food. All breaks would have to be taken at the work site. 

The guidelines also call for a strict daily report. Every construction site must post a wellness questionnaire sign in and sign out sheet. Worksite workers would have to verbally complete the questionnaire with their supervisor prior to starting work each day.

The questionnaire confirms that employees don’t have flu-like symptoms, have not had contact with a person diagnosed with COVID-19, and traveled to work without taking the ferry or the bus.

Construction sites will also have to be inspected by the building inspector prior to construction.  Violations of the guidelines would result in a fine of up to $1,000 and suspended work.

Town boards of health would have to approve the guidelines.


  1. Holy cow! Talk about government overreach. I would guess that construction workers are a very low percentage of covid 19 cases. But it’s ok to bump into each other in the isles of Stop and Shop in VH without sign in slips or this other nonsense imposed on construction workers. You know what would have been nice? A modern grocery store with wide isles instead of that relic of the 60’s.

  2. “Traveling by ferry would not be allowed”
    That’s all island workers wanted to hear since this started! We could have gone back to work weeks ago, if only those few simple words had been written promptly. There was surely no lack of it being publicly requested. Such unnecessary suffering, for so many, being forced to lose wages until officials finally conjured up the magic utterance.

  3. Why open construction sites when we are still in the midst of a crisis? It’s just asking for trouble. And, why does construction get special treatment over all the other businesses that are closed now that would be infinitely safer? For example, I have often been the only shopper in this season in some of the many stores in our downtowns. You could limit entrance to a small number of people, and require everyone to wear masks like at the grocery stores. I don’t really think it should happen, but makes a lot more sense than allowing construction sites to reopen. Aren’t we supposed to be sheltering at home except for essential services?

  4. Asking a worker if he/she has flu like symptoms is inadequate. The workers should be tested (the President says everyone can get a test now) and thermal temperature scans taken daily to verify whether a fever exists. That’s what the rest of us will have to do when the world re-opens.

  5. A Edgartown big native landscaping company and another up-island one has trucks with three works riding all over the place with tools and material in the back.
    Let out Landscapers who live on the island and can prove that they will /can abide by guidelines work AND ALL OFF ISLANDS WORKERS from ALL trades keep them outta here let our people back to work!
    I personally know that they will obey the rues. Island Leaders, Dont make it any harder mine or for your fellow islanders!!

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