In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Maine and local governments have issued emergency orders aimed at combating the transmission of the Coronavirus in our communities. For example, on March 24, 2020, the Office of the Governor issued An Order Regarding Essential Businesses and Operations, substantially limiting the activities of “non-essential” businesses and operations state-wide. On that same day, the City of Portland issued a Proclamation Declaring Continued State of Emergency and Requirement to Stay at Home, also limiting the activities of non-essential businesses and operations within the City of Portland. Central to both orders is the requirement that all non-essential businesses and operations cease activities that are public facing, and essentially close their physical workspaces and facilities.
Both orders, however, do permit the continuation of certain “essential” businesses and operations. Of relevance to contractors (and construction related service providers and professionals), the “construction and maintenance of essential infrastructure” and “essential home repair” are defined as “Essential Businesses and Operations” under the State’s order. Similarly, “businesses and organizations that provide construction and maintenance of essential infrastructure” are defined as “essential services” under the City of Portland’s order. The city’s order also specifies that “construction business” are essential businesses, but only to the extent they are performing work on “existing or ongoing construction projects” and “so long as, to the maximum extent possible,” all persons working are kept at least six feet apart.
As of this date, the City of Bangor and the Town of Brunswick have also issued similar orders, both of which list “construction businesses” as “essential businesses and organizations”. As this crisis continues to evolve, more local governments may issue their own orders placing additional restrictions on the activities of “non-essential” business.
In light of the rapid developments, it is important for contractors and related businesses to remain informed on the applicable regulations and to ensure that they are permitted to perform work during these unprecedented times.
Perkins Thompson is staying up to date on the emergency regulations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and is available to answer any questions you may have. If you would like to speak with the firm about these issues, you can email Joe Talbot or call him directly at 207-774-2635.