Impact of City of Atlanta’s Executive Order on Construction Projects

by: Chadd L. Reynolds

On March 23, 2020, the Mayor of the City of Atlanta, Keisha Lance-Bottoms, issued Executive Order Number 2020-21 (the “Order”), declaring there to be an emergency within the City of Atlanta due to the CONVID-19 pandemic. Generally, the Order requires individuals to stay at their place of residence and prohibits all gatherings of any number of people outside a house or living unit. But the Order does provide certain exceptions that apply to construction projects within the limits of the City of Atlanta.

Under the Order, individuals are allowed to leave their residence to perform work or services necessary to the operations and maintenance of “Essential Infrastructure” which includes, but is not limited to, public works, construction, airport operations, utilities, roads and highways, public transportation, internet, telecommunication systems, etc. provided they comply with Social Distancing Requirements (six (6) feet of separation) to the extent possible.

It is important to note that the initial version of the Order read, “including, but not limited to public works construction, airport operations…” leaving many in the construction industry to believe only public works projects would be considered Essential Infrastructure and thus exempt from the Order. Those in the industry sought clarification and the Mayor’s office confirmed their intention for construction to remain in place, later correcting the Order to include a comma after “public works.”

Therefore, construction projects are considered Essential Infrastructure and exempt from most of the requirements of the Order. This allows all construction projects within the jurisdictional limits of the City of Atlanta to continue if Social Distancing Requirements are complied with to the extent possible.