Boston Mayor Walsh: Restrictions preferable to “far worse situation”

Boston Statehouse

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Tuesday that “every day the trend also gives us reason for caution in the terms of how gradual it is, in how necessary our precautions have been and how much potential there is for new outbreaks if we don’t keep doing the right thing.” (Photo: Courtesy/City of Boston)

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BOSTON (SHNS) – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday voiced support for Gov. Charlie Baker’s new round of pandemic-related orders and restrictions, cautioning of a “far worse situation” in the weeks or months ahead if spread of the contagious coronavirus is not curbed.

Starting at 12:01 a.m. Friday, a stay-at-home advisory will be in effect for Massachusetts residents from 10 p.m. through 5 a.m., on-site restaurant service and entertainment venues will need to close at 9:30 p.m., and indoor gatherings will be capped at 10 people.

“I want to be clear, these measures are there to help us stop the spread of the virus,” Walsh said. “These are not easy to do. These are in line with the cautious approach that we’ve been taking in Boston from the very beginning of this pandemic. They respond to the case trends that we’ve seen for several weeks here now in Boston and clearly in the state of Massachusetts. They’re also in line with the conversations that I’ve been having with mayors around greater Boston about the approach and this trend that we’re seeing here.

Walsh said that if individual cities respond on their own to the COVID-19 trends, the measures will be less effective and “can be unfair to small businesses based on where they’re located.”

“I know that it’s been a difficult time for our businesses, and I know many of them are struggling, but if we don’t get the virus under control and we don’t stop this trend of increase in positivity rates, we’ll be in a far worse situation in a few weeks or months,” Walsh said in a press conference outside of City Hall. “I’ll be standing here talking about shutting everything down, and we don’t want to be doing that, so I’m asking everyone please take this virus seriously.”

When Baker announced the new orders on Monday, he said the number of new COVID-19 cases per day had grown by almost 300 percent since Labor Day, while the daily hospitalization number increased by 145 percent.

Boston on Tuesday added 69 new cases to its total, Walsh said, for a cumulative 21,275 since the onset of the pandemic. Eight hundred and seventy-one Bostonians have died of COVID-19.

Statewide, 157,308 COVID-19 cases have been logged since February, and more than 10,000 people with confirmed or probable COVID-19 diagnoses have died.

Walsh acknowledged that fighting the virus is “hard, and we’re feeling some fatigue,” and that the issue has “been polarized” nationally.

“These are a strategy to get our COVID numbers back under control and to keep people out of the hospital, and that’s the only way we can continue to get our economy up and running, and our communities back on track,” he said. “So if you want to go back to nightlife, youth sports, concerts, sporting events — more importantly, if you want to get the kids back in school, which is really important to do — the way we do that is doing these precautions, stopping the spread of the virus, and turning the trends around that are happening right now.”

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