NEW YORK - No matter where you go, again the beat of construction work pumps throughout the five boroughs.

What You Need To Know

  • More Than 33,000 Construction Sites Reopen Roughly 8,000 Were Deemed Essential and Already Open.

  • Back To Work - The Construction Industry Employed 157,000 People in NYC at the End of 2019.

  • Department Of Buildings Will Start Fining Companies For Social Distancing Violations In One Month.

  • Office Space Designed Before COVID-19 May Have To Be Redesigned At Great Expense For Social Distancing Requirements.

"It’s the best day in the last three months in New York,” said Carlo A. Scissura about Monday.  He's the President and CEO of the construction industry trade group New York Building Congress.

More than 33,000 projects are allowed to operate again this week.

Roughly 8,000 others had been deemed essential and continued throughout the pandemic.

“We had a couple of factions of this job what were deemed essential,” explained Michael Grispin, Senior Superintendent at Cauldwell Wingate about a project on West 21st Street in Manhattan.

The city allowed utility work and facade restoration to continue for safety in the old meat packing plant in the Meat Packing District.  It will be art gallery office space.

NY1 spoke with a worker who was home during the pandemic.

“It’s really sad,” he said in Spanish. "You are worried because you don't know if things are going to get back to normal… it’s important to keep using the face mask and keep following social distancing guidelines.”

The Department of Buildings says its inspectors will be checking sites to make sure they’re complying with a list of protocols, including wearing face coverings if less than six feet from someone.

NY1 found compliance to be a mixed bag Monday.

Workers at a site in Dumbo were clearly six feet apart on their lunch break, but just a block away some were standing and talking probably too close without masks.

On the other hand, certain parts of the job make social distancing difficult, for example passing off tools and materials.

“This week is going to be the learning week right, figuring out what’s new, what’s different. How we work with masks and gloves,” said Scissura.

The city is giving construction sites a month until it issues citations with financial penalties which can reach $5,000.  It’s a cushion many projects will need.  Office space designed before COVID-19 may have to be redesigned at great expense.

“We’ve spent th last 15 years or so packing people into benches and as many people into spaces as possible," said architect Bill Mandara. "Which is in direct contravention with everything you’re supposed to be doing now in this post COVID world”

Mandara who is an owner Mancini Duffy, a firm specializing in architecture, planning, and interior design says he has a lot of projects he’s worried about and some are now on hold, but not the former meat packing plant, soon to be office space for the Art industry. 

Although just like most city projects, it’s two and half months behind schedule.