coronavirus

Mayor Walsh Says He Won't Lift Boston's Public Health Emergency Next Week

He also said the city's social distancing and face covering rules will remain in effect even as the state moves toward reopening

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday that he has no plans to lift the city's public health emergency "next week or in the near future," even as the state moves closer to reopening.

He also said existing rules governing social and physical distancing and face coverings will remain in effect.

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Mayor Marty Walsh said that existing rules governing social and physical distancing and face coverings will remain in effect.

"I know many people are feeling a bit worn down after living through two months of this," Walsh said. "But the fastest and most sustainable way out of this is a healthy way. If we come back too soon, there will be a second surge. If we are lax and take those safety nets away and have a second surge, we'll be in a lot worse situation than we are in today. "

"I want to see our city bustling again," he added. "I want to go to Fenway, I want to go to Foxboro, I want to go to the Garden. I want to do all the stuff that's missing. But we can't just jump back into it."

An antibody study in Boston is providing a better picture of the coronavirus infection rate in the city.

Walsh said the city continues to work with the state as Gov. Charlie Baker prepares to release his phased reopening plan on Monday. The state has not yet said what types of businesses will be allowed to reopen in phase one.

"All the folks want to get back to work, I appreciate this," the mayor said.

Gov. Baker provides a COVID-19 update on testing, working to get Mass. to a 'new normal.'

For salon owner Kanessa Alexander, Friday's news dashes any hopes that robust business will return quickly.

"It's your livelihood," she said.

Alexander owns Perfect 10 Unisex Salon in West Roxbury. She worries that when she does get the green light to reopen, it's not a business that adapts easily to social distancing.

"How do you adjust to that when it requires touch? How do you say, 'I'm going to give you a haircut without touching, while distancing six feet?'" she asked. "How do you do that? How do you prepare?"

Walsh was also asked about Boston Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge's comments that he hopes to be able to reopen the team's Brighton practice facility next week, like some other NBA teams have already started doing.

"I expect that answer will come next week when the governor lays out the guidelines," he said.

Walsh said sports teams will be treated like any other industry in the city and will have to submit plans showing they can keep their employees safe.

"I don't see anytime soon where we'll be going back to sports in stadiums as far as fans," he added. "I would like to see if they could do it -- some of our sports teams coming back playing without fans."

The NBA released a statement Wednesday saying it was suspending the season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus.

Walsh said Friday that Boston now has 11,395 cases of COVID-19, up 111 from a day earlier. He also reported nine new coronavirus deaths, for a total of 551.

He also said there have been 4,089 recoveries, up 141, which he said is a good sign.

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