SOMERVILLE (CBS) – Despite the slowest reopening in the state, the city of Somerville was declared a COVID-19 “red zone” on the state’s map that tracks virus spread Wednesday night.
“We’re not surprised,” Mayor Joseph Curtatone told WBZ. “We took a conservative approach to reopening,” he explained. “But the virus knows no borders. It knows no boundaries. We live in one of the most densely populated areas in America.”
Somerville is one of 63 cities and towns now considered hotspots for the virus.
When asked if he’ll start rolling back reopening guidelines, Curtatone said he’d like more specific guidance from Governor Baker on metrics for what reopening moves backward. “We’ll be guided by data, with the input of health experts as we think about whether to reactivate parts of our economy or to roll back,” he said. “We still have no plan – or no understanding from the governor on thresholds where we should roll back.”
Curtatone said the town-by-town tackling of reopening guidelines “makes no sense,” and pitched a more region-based approach from the Governor’s office.
Meanwhile, in nearby Waltham, business owners are growing fearful as the city spends its second week in the “red zone.”
“What’s going to happen next? Are they going to shut us down again?” said Fernando Leon, the co owner of Solea restaurant on Moody Street. “I don’t know. I don’t know how we’re going to make it.”
Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy declared a public health emergency Wednesday, calling for mandatory masks to be worn in all public areas with few exceptions. McCarthy, like others in government, said private gatherings are to blame for an uptick in cases.
At Games Underground in Waltham, the arcade opened only three weeks ago, and now owner Jamie York fears they could be shut down for good if numbers continue to climb. “When you see people online not taking this seriously, it’s disheartening. Because we are all really stuck in this together trying to get through this,” he told WBZ. “Businesses really need to stay open right now.”