BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has announced several "new, stronger stay-at-home guidelines" that will go into effect this week, after the city had a surge in coronavirus cases over the weekend.
"We have new guidelines from the CDC and local health experts about what we should do to protect our community," Mayor Walsh said outside City Hall on Sunday. "For that reason, I'm announcing new stronger stay-at-home-guidelines.... These go into effect tomorrow morning, April 6."
The first recommendation is for "everyone and anyone to wear a mask covering your face when you leave your house." Mayor Walsh said that applies to people going to the grocery store, pharmacy, going out for a walk, or going to work.
Walsh said the face coverings could be a mask, a scarf, or a bandana. "Face coverings will slow the spread of the virus... because up to about 25 percent of the people who are infected are not showing symptoms right now."
The second change coming to the city is a recommended curfew for at least the next three weeks. "Our Boston Public Health Commission is issuing a Public Health Advisory recommending that people stay inside between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. starting tomorrow morning," Walsh said.
The curfew applies to everyone except essential workers, giving people a guideline to make good choices and avoided crowded situations at stores and restaurants.
Walsh also said Boston City Hall will only be open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. starting this week. Everyone entering the building will be screened for COVID symptoms, including having temperatures taken.
"It's still the case that you should only come in for services if they're not available by phone or online," Walsh said. "You must call ahead to schedule an appointment."
The Mayor also announced city authorities will be closing all sports facilities and city parks like basketball, tennis, and street hockey courts. "People are continuing to gather, and we simply have to take that option away," Walsh said. "You'll still have access to open space.... where you can go for a walk or a run. But no group activities should be taking place anywhere, and that includes fitness classes in open spaces."
Boston police officers are empowered to disperse public gatherings, order people to vacate parks, and "can and will issue violations," according to Walsh.
The new guidelines follow Boston's largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases over the weekend.
"We have ... 1,877 cases in the city of Boston. That's up 259 over yesterday, our largest single-day increase," Walsh said. "What that means is we've had 27 percent of our overall cases of coronavirus since this began, over the last 48 hours. That's what a surge looks like, and we are still at the beginning of this surge."
Mayor Walsh also said there have now been 15 deaths related to the virus in the city.
(Photo: Getty Images)