For Torontonians living close to any of the building sites that seem to surround the 6ix, it might be time to prepare for life to get noisier again. That's because the provincial government announced on April 8 it will be allowing 24-hour Ontario construction on what it terms "essential" projects amid the COVID-19 pandemic. These "essential" builds include new hospitals, expansion of medical centres, and other COVID-19-related buildings. 

According to a statement issued by the province on Wednesday, construction work hours for important projects like new hospital builds, expansions, and COVID-19 assessment centres are being extended.

"During this escalating crisis, we are taking immediate steps to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place, particularly to properly care for those with severe COVID-19 symptoms and other patients who require critical care," said Premier Doug Ford, via the statement.

"That's why we're extending construction hours to allow us to build essential infrastructure faster while ensuring construction workers can practice physical distancing on worksites to stay safe and healthy."

An existing noise bylaw in Toronto forbids noise from construction projects between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. on all days except Saturdays, when the morning amnesty is pushed back to 9 a.m.

Per that bylaw, brought into force back in October 2019, building site noise is also normally prohibited all day long on Sundays and public holidays. 

That's about to change, though.

The province stresses these bylaws are going to be temporarily ignored for essential projects for the time being.

As one government minister explained, though, this change is arguably as much about allowing for better social distancing on site as it is about speeding up construction. 

"Temporarily limiting noise bylaws to extend the hours for construction work will help make it possible to stagger shifts and have fewer workers on-site at any given time so they can practice physical distancing," said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing via the province's statement.

According to CP24, the government has already faced some backlash for keeping construction sites open as many were asked to stay home.

Ford has now reiterated Clark's emphasis that extending these hours will allow for employee's shifts to be more spread out and help in limiting the number of people working on a site at once, via Global News.

 

So, don't be surprised if you hear the streets a little louder in the next few days.

But, if the noise is keeping you up at night, just know it's because Ontario's workers are pushing hard to help in this pandemic.

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