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Much of New York Construction is Now Also “on PAUSE”

Although Governor Cuomo put “New York State on PAUSE” a week ago, at that time, “construction” was not specifically exempted from his Executive Order and the Empire State Development’s (ESD) guidance on what businesses were subject to the 100% workforce reduction. Yet, pursuant to a further directive from the Governor, on Friday, March 27, 2020, the ESD updated its guidance to explicitly state that “[a]ll non-essential construction must shut down except emergency construction, (e.g. a project necessary to protect health and safety of the occupants, or to continue a project if it would be unsafe to allow to remain undone until it is safe to shut the site).” (Emphasis added.) See: https://esd.ny.gov/guidance-executive-order-2026.

The ESC provides several examples of “[e]ssential construction,” and advises that for project sites falling within that category, or for sites qualifying as “emergency non-essential construction,” the Executive Order’s 10-point policy requires, as explained in the ESC guidance, “maintaining social distance, including for purposes of elevators/meals/entry and exit.” See also 10 Point Plan. The ESC warns that “[s]ites that cannot maintain distance and safety best practices must close and enforcement will be provided by the state in coordination with the city/local governments. This will include fines of up to $10,000 per violation.”

The ESC guidance excludes from the definition of “construction work” “a single worker, who is the sole employee/worker on a job site.”

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About this Author

Virginia K. Trunkes Construction & Litigation Attorney Robinson + Cole Law Firm

Virginia K. Trunkes advocates on behalf of developers; apartment building, brownstone and condominium unit owners; cooperative boards of directors; construction managers, contractors and subcontractors; and design services professionals in negotiating their business contracts and adjacent-owner license access agreements. She is a member of the firm’s Construction Law Group.

As former Chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Construction Law Committee, Virginia has a broad overview of all issues implicating construction projects, including...

Lisa B. Andrzejewski Construction Law Attorney Robinson + Cole Law Firm Connecticut

Lisa Andrzejewski represents clients throughout the construction industry, including owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals, sureties, and high net-worth homeowners. As a member of the firm’s Construction Group, she manages complex construction matters through litigation mediation and arbitration. Lisa also provides transactional services to her clientele. 


Lisa recognizes that while construction cases often involve common issues such as defective construction, defective products and materials, defective design, change order disputes, contractor default, scheduling delays, mechanic’s liens and indemnity recovery including payment and performance bond claims, she appreciates that each client and each matter is unique. Lisa uses her skills and knowledge gained from her experience as a base, and then layers the facts and law to develop defenses that are best suited for each client’s individual needs. She strongly advocates for her clients and strives to maintain civility during negotiations to facilitate reaching prompt and effective resolutions.

Lisa is comfortable preparing notice and demand letters, litigation pleadings, including motions to quash, motions to dismiss, motions to vacate judgment, orders to show cause and mediation briefs.  Following successful negotiations, she also prepares settlement agreements. Lisa conducts and defends depositions, and when necessary is fully prepared for trial.


Contracts are at the heart of construction matters, and the quality of the drafting can often be the difference between on-time, on-budget projects and fierce litigation battles.  Lisa uses her litigation experience and industry knowledge to develop contracts that are functional and solid. She has experience drafting owner/contractor, owner/architect, and general contractor/subcontractor contracts and consulting agreements using AIA, Consensus Docs and original contracts for government, commercial and residential construction services projects. Additionally, Lisa has prepared letters of intent for clients seeking performance of pre-contract services and immediate performance.

Prior to joining Robinson+Cole, Lisa worked in a boutique, NY-based construction firm, where she was involved in multi-million-dollar, complex litigation and transactional work for subcontractors, architects, high-net-worth individuals and public owners. She also worked for a law firm in Danbury, CT, where she concentrated her practice in the areas of land use, commercial real estate, and construction, representing municipalities, developers, and landowners. While attending law school, Lisa interned with the School of Law's Criminal Clinic, the Connecticut Urban Legal Initiative, and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. Prior to law school, she was a business and technology consultant for leading financial services companies. Lisa is a contributor to the firm’s blog, Construction Law Zone.