BOSTON (CBS) — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced Thursday that the city will be “cracking down” on people violating coronavirus protocols amid an uptick of cases. Walsh called out increased reports of house parties in South Boston and other neighborhoods and said officials are looking at strengthening enforcement and imposing fines on violators.
“Right now we’re at a very critical point in where we are with coronavirus,” Walsh said at a news conference. “If we don’t do what we need to do and we don’t start to take responsibility as individuals, we’re going to be in a potential case where I have to stand at this podium and talk about shutting down this city again.”
Walsh said he and city departments are talking about tightening enforcement on gathering limits, adding restrictions on unpermitted public events and “unsanctioned activities” in public parks.
“We’re working right now with different agencies probably on some type of fine that we’re going to be imposing,” he said. “We are going to be cracking down.”
There have been a flood of complaints to the city about young people attending house parties and not wearing face masks, particularly in South Boston. Anyone concerned about a house party should call 911, Walsh said.
Our team is giving special attention to gatherings and house parties that are putting people at risk. We are tracing locations where parties continue to happen, and will be working through @ISDBoston to curtail these events. If you are concerned about a party, call 911.
— Mayor Marty Walsh (@marty_walsh) October 15, 2020
“Not going to a party is a small sacrifice,” Walsh said. “My advice is to get on Zoom, socialize through Zoom if you can.”
North End restaurant owners are begging Mayor Walsh not to shut the city down again.
“We’re just finally getting up and going, and the train is moving, people are hopping on, we’re paying taxes,” said restaurant owner Frank Pellino. “You’re punishing the wrong individuals here.”
Businesses are barely making ends meet as is, relying on only local traffic to pay the bills.
“To even think we might get shut down in the middle of this right now, I don’t know how many people would fall,” said Nehal Shah, the owner of Lit Boutique.
It’s not only restaurants, but small boutiques and mom and pop stores, that could face the consequences of another shut down, so they’re begging the mayor to punish the people breaking the rules, not the businesses that serve them.
“This is everything I’ve got, I’ve been doing it for over 15 years,” Shah said. “It’s how I feed my children, it’s how I pay my bills.”
Boston recently paused its school reopening plan due to rising case numbers, delaying the start of hybrid learning for all students until Oct. 22. Walsh said the city will decide this weekend if another delay is needed.
“Our rates are going in the wrong direction to have in-person learning,” Walsh said.