Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Sunday issued a recommended curfew of 9 p.m. and asked all residents to wear a mask when leaving the house after the city saw its largest single-day increase in coronavirus cases.
The recommended curfew extends through 6 a.m. each morning and applies to all residents except essential workers, the mayor said. People are encouraged to utilize delivery services as much as possible after 9 p.m.
Walsh said masks or face coverings should be worn anytime a person leaves the house, including on walks and trips to the grocery. Face coverings can include a cloth, scarf or bandanna and should cover a person's mouth and nose without restricting breathing, the mayor said.
Face coverings should not be placed on children under 2 years of age or anyone who has trouble breathing, the city said in a press release.
The guidance on masks was in line with new CDC guidelines released Friday.
In addition, the city will close all areas for recreational sports at city parks, including tennis and basketball courts. Areas for walking and jogging would remain open. All playgrounds were shut down last month.
The stronger guidance takes effect Monday morning and will remain in place until May 4.
The new guidelines come as Walsh on Sunday reported two additional deaths from COVID-19, bringing the city's death toll to 15. He also reported 259 new cases of the coronavirus -- the city's biggest single-day increase -- bringing Boston's total number of cases to 1,877.
Walsh said the city was in the early stages of a surge of coronavirus cases.
"I cannot stress enough that the actions we take now through the next several weeks will help curb the spread of this virus, and save lives," Walsh said.
"There is nothing that I won't do as Mayor of the City of Boston to protect our residents, and at this very critical time, we must do everything we can as Bostonians to protect one another. This is bigger than any one person - this is about the greater good of our people. Stay safe, stay inside, and let's get through this together."
Walsh also said people over 65 and those with underlying health conditions to take extra precautions, including refraining from taking walks or spending time outside "for the next few weeks" and exercising inside instead.
Underlying health conditions include asthma, diabetes, heart conditions, kidney or liver disease or conditions that can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including cancer treatment and smoking.
Walsh said despite the current guidelines, many people could be seen playing sports and at local parks and playgrounds.
Earlier Sunday, Walsh said his administration was considering measures such as an enforced mandatory curfew or stay-at-home order.
"That's certainly something that's being discussed here at City Hall," Walsh told NBC10 Boston.
"That's the last resort but we're headed towards that," said Walsh. "We're preparing for the next steps."