COVID-19

Mayor Walsh: Reopening States Now Is ‘Going to Do Some Damage'

He said the City of Boston still hasn't reached the coronavirus peak and won't be ready to reopen the economy for some time

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday that states like Georgia that are looking to reopen as the country remains in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak are going to do more harm than good.

"States opening up businesses this weekend are going to do some damage and harm in their states," Walsh said in an appearance on MSNBC. "They're giving people false expectations. False hope is not the right way to go right now."

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Walsh said Boston still needs to continue to ramp up testing before it can even consider reopening its economy.

"In Boston and Massachusetts, we're working together to make sure we're stopping the spread of the virus and at the appropriate time we'll be able to work on reopening the economy," he said. "Right now, people's safety has to be our first priority as elected officials."

Walsh said Boston saw its second largest increase in the number of cases on Thursday. There are now about 7,000 total cases, and 250 deaths.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh issued new, stricter social distancing guidelines Sunday afternoon after sharing that cases in the city had climbed to nearly 1,900.

"We're still seeing these numbers climb, and as we get more testing I think we're going to see the numbers go even higher," he said.

The mayor said in a press conference later in the day that the city has not reached the peak yet, and he does not expect to be ready to reopen businesses and lift the stay-at-home advisory on May 4, when it is currently set to expire.

"The advisory date is something I know the governor will be addressing soon. He talked about it a little today. I don't think we're going to be ready in the City of Boston to come back to regular business for quite some time. I have reservations about May 4. I hope I'm wrong."

Walsh said the city has taken some additional steps to help restaurants, allowing them to sell grocery items including produce, paper products and more via delivery, curbside pickup and takeout.

"It was a request that we heard from both restaurants and customers," said Walsh. "And may cut down the essential trips outside the home, as well."

If restaurants want to start selling groceries, they'll have to submit a plan to city hall, and they'll have to follow strict guidelines for packaging and labeling.

Governor Charlie Baker said that staffers are taking 20,000 individual calls a day to keep up with demand.

In his appearance on MSNBC, Walsh also shot down Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's suggestion that states and cities suffering because of the coronavirus pandemic should consider declaring bankruptcy.

"That's not one of the things I think we should be considering in American cities. I don't think that's the appropriate way," he said. "Bankruptcy brings a whole bunch of challenges... The City of Boston, I can tell you right now, we're not filing for bankruptcy."

Mayor Walsh announces expanding testing in Boston for COVID-19.

On Thursday, Walsh said during a virtual town hall meeting hosted by The Boston Globe that residents need to stay the course. “We’re probably in for another four, five, six weeks of what we’re going through today," he said.

The mayor said earlier this week that he has "major concerns" about the tourism industry.

"I don't see tourism coming back for months, if not a year or so," he said.

Walsh also said this week that he remains "hopeful" that the rescheduled Boston Marathon will be able to go on as planned on Sept. 14.

Statewide, there are now more than 46,000 coronavirus cases, including 2,360 deaths.

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