SOMERVILLE (CBS) — Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone reaffirmed Monday that his city will follow its own timeline in maintaining its state of emergency. Construction can start phasing in, but houses of worship, hair salons, barbershops and playgrounds will stay closed for now even as the reopen in other places across the state next week.
Curtatone said Somerville will take a “wait and see” approach and look at the data before deciding when to reopen.READ MORE: Massachusetts Reopening Plan: COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity
“We’re going to be taking our time, digesting these guidelines and requirements, engaging the business community and operations like houses of worship to educate them so that we’re doing things that don’t put people’s lives and our health in danger,” he said.
Hospitals, medical services and curbside retail in Somerville can reopen on state timeline. But the city cited regional differences in COVID-19 impacts, warnings from experts and a need for greater clarity on issues such as worker protections as the reasons why they are halting other reopenings.READ MORE: 'In Like A Lion': March Weather Brings Drastic Swing In Temperatures This Week
City officials said they will be focused on questions of equity and fairness to make sure there are not disproportionate health consequences to already vulnerable communities.
“Our goal is to build on the good work that the governor and the State’s Reopening Advisory Board have done and make sure each element of our reopening can be implemented successfully,” Curtatone said in the release. “…We must also recognize we are a long way from having this disease under control. In a dense urban environment, we need to give careful consideration to every action we take.”
The City will release further specifics about the local reopening in the coming days as it establishes policies and timelines, and seeks answers from the state.MORE NEWS: South Attleboro MBTA Station Closes Due To 'Deteriorating' Pedestrian Bridge
“Ultimately this is not a choice between public health and the economy,” Curtatone said. “Our economy will not thrive if the health of everyone is not adequately protected. The State has given us a lot to work through, and our aim is to do so responsibly but also quickly. We also will be working with neighboring communities to try to stay on the same page within our urban core. We must recognize that what works right now for the Berkshires is not necessarily right for metro Boston.”