Mayor Walsh: May 4 'Too Early' To Reopen Boston

BOSTON (State House News Service) — Boston officials are working on a "recovery framework" that will lay out short, medium and long-term steps to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic and the pause it has put on economic activity, Mayor Martin Walsh said Monday.

Walsh said the state's largest city "will not reopen on May 4," the date that Gov. Charlie Baker's non-essential business closure order and a statewide stay-at-home advisory are set to expire. Baker hasn't said if he'll extend the order.

Walsh said there's "never a moment" when officials do not think about the financial hardships people and businesses are facing, but that he has "serious concerns if we start relaxing some of the measures we've taken in Boston and across the commonwealth on May 4."

"There is no question that May 4 is too early," he said.

The recovery framework will include public health interventions aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19 until a vaccine or treatment becomes available, Walsh said during a livestreamed briefing.

"We are not going to sit back and wait for the coronavirus to go away before we take the next steps, but we are going to approach it very thoughtfully," Walsh said. "We should never put ourselves in a position where we move too quickly and undo the progress that's been made."

There were 8,159 cases of COVID-19 in Boston as of Sunday and 302 deaths, and Walsh said Boston is "still in the peak of the outbreak."

After urging people to cover their faces in public, Walsh said he'd heard reports of people not wearing masks in grocery stores. "Quite honestly, this is unacceptable," Walsh said. "You're putting other people at risk."

By Katie Lannan, State House News Service

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