SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY — Town supervisors of Suffolk County on Monday sent a joint letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo in support of the New York Builders Association’s request to allow residential construction to resume under uniform guidance. Over 8,000 jobs could be saved if residential builders are allowed back to work during construction season, the supervisors said.
With the coronavirus going on, Cuomo in late March halted most residential and commercial construction, Curbed reported.
"While we fully understand the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak and the need for your
comprehensive New York Pause initiative, unfortunately Long Island’s housing crisis does not," the supervisors' letter reads. "It is important that we continue to build one and two-family homes across our respective townships."
The supervisors applauded Cuomo's efforts in working with neighboring states to come up with uniformed policies on essential business. However, construction of residential housing isn't in-line with the other states, the supervisors said.
The following was a request from the NYBA, according to the supervisors:
"Residential construction is considered an essential industry in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Delaware. New Jersey, similar to New York, initially considered residential construction as essential. It however changed to non-essential allowing continuation of single-family homes under construction or in an individual apartment unit where an individual already resides, or where there is an agreement to occupy by a certain date. None of these states have shut down worksites as New York has."
As long as social distancing guidelines are followed, personal protective equipment is used and worksites are properly disinfected, the supervisors said construction projects can and should move forward without significant heath concerns.
"This will allow us to continue to address the housing needs of our constituencies, keep thousands of Long Islanders working, and even stimulate the local economy as these workers patronize businesses on their lunch breaks," the supervisors said.
The letter was signed by Rich Schaffer, Town of Babylon; Angie Carpenter, Town of Islip; Edward P. Romaine, Town of Brookhaven; Jay Schneiderman, Town of Southampton; Peter Van Scoyoc, Town of Easthampton; Chad A. Lupinacci, Town of Huntington; Edward R. Wehrheim, Town of Smithtown; Yvette Aguiar, Town of Riverhead; Scott Russell, Town of Southold; and Gerry Siller, Town of Shelter Island.