BOSTON (CBS) – Mayor Marty Walsh said that while coronavirus data is moving in the right direction for the city, he added that Boston will work cautiously to reopen because it has different circumstances than much of the state.
“Overall the data tells us that we’re moving in the right direction on new cases, on positive tests, and on hospitalizations for about three weeks here now,” said Walsh, who added “We have to get it right because we can’t afford a second shutdown”
Walsh made the remarks a day after Gov. Charlie Baker laid out plans for the state’s phased reopening.
“I know that reopening is a source of uncertainty and anxiety for many,” Walsh said. “There’s been many opinions over the last 24 hours about what the governor said yesterday. We are concerned about the health of your loved ones. We’re concerned about the finances and our future economy. We’re concerned about neighbors and workers in the communities that were already struggling before this crisis hit. I want to show all the people of Boston, whatever your age, occupation, we are committed to your health, your safety, your wellbeing, for as long as it takes. We will continue to be guided by fact based science, and we will not take steps that put anyone at undue risk.”
While offices in the state are allowed to reopen at 25% maximum occupancy on May 25, Boston offices are not allowed to return to work until June 1.
Walsh said the city has a “uniquely large, dense, dynamic commercial sector” and other industries that make reopening a challenge.
“In normal times our population roughly doubles in size, every day, as regional workforces enter our city and our workplaces,” said Walsh. “We are on the top lists of tourist destinations. We’re also a college town, and we have the greatest hospitals in the world.”
Walsh said he supports restaurants being able to have indoor and outdoor dining, because many businesses in the city do not have the space to offer outdoor dining.
The mayor said businesses should not feel pressured to reopen.
“I know many of our small business owners are concerned about their ability to open safely, especially smaller establishments that offer high contact services,” said Walsh. “If you don’t feel comfortable opening, I want to assure you we will back your decision and will continue to make our services and resources available to you.”
Places of worship were allowed to reopen on Monday with safety guidelines in place. Walsh said he has heard from some in the religious community who are hesitant.
“I share your concern. I encourage you to take every precaution. If you have any doubts about being able to plan and implement or monitor safety guidelines, I urge you not to reopen,” said Walsh.
Walsh also urged older residents not to return to their places of worship.
“I know that for many of you, your place of worship is the heart of your community, and you are missing it,” said Walsh. “I want you to hold off on going back to your services at this point. We want you to follow the Safer at Home Advisory. I want you to contact your faith leaders to be in conversation with them, and I asked the faith leaders be in conversation with your elderly parishioners. Guide them and support them in putting safety first, and keeping them connected to church in other ways.”