Walsh: Shutdown, Ban on Indoor Dining Possible If COVID Cases Keep Rising

"The last resort would be to shut things down right now, and we're headed toward that last resort," the mayor said Tuesday

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Mayor Marty Walsh warned Tuesday that a shutdown of the economy and a ban on indoor dining are among the measures that could be taken if Boston's coronavirus cases continue their current rapid climb.

"We're not at a point now yet, but we could be there in a week" he said. "We're not at a point yet where we have to shut everything down. The last resort would be to shut things down right now, and we're headed toward that last resort."

Mayor Marty Walsh encourages Boston residents to get tested before and after Thanksgiving, and to follow COVID-19 guidelines to stop the spread.

"Every metric tells us we're in the midst of a significant and concerning increase in COVID activity," Walsh added. "Daily cases are starting to look like the numbers we saw at our peak in April and May... We need to continue to stay focused on turning this trend around."

Philadelphia recently instituted a ban on indoor dining, effective Friday, and Walsh wouldn't rule out similar measures here.

"If need be we will take that action here in Boston," he said. "I don't think it's needed here today."

Walsh said it's up to the residents of Boston to prevent that from happening.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to get through this period together," he said. "We don't have to go down the road of fear we're going down right now. We can turn these numbers around."

He said the recent surge appears to be mostly related to cases in the workplace and as a result of private gatherings. He warned that Thanksgiving could be another super spreader if people don't heed his advice.

The mayor also urged college students who are heading home for Thanksgiving not to return for the rest of the semester. Some area schools have already decided to go remote after the holiday.

A study conducted by researchers found that people are more likely to do risky COVID-19 behaviors in October than in the spring.

Walsh urged residents to spend the holiday only with their current household, and if they do gather with extended family to keep it to 10 people or fewer, wearing masks and social distancing when indoors.

"We have the ability within our own power to really look at not having that spread. It's within our own ability to get these numbers down," Walsh said. "We have to do everything we can. I don't want to be standing in front of this podium three weeks from now shutting down restaurants and shops and sports. We've worked hard to reopen society. We don't want to go backwards."

As of Monday, there were 24,159 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Boston and 888 deaths. Nearly 20,000 people have recovered from the virus.

Even as coronavirus cases continue to spike in the city, four Boston schools reopened Monday to in-person leaning for the district's highest need students.

For the first time in weeks, Boston students with high needs will be going back to the classroom.

The four schools that reopened are the Carter School, Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, McKinley Schools, and Henderson Inclusion School.

Earlier in the school year, only high need students had been participating in classroom learning despite objections from the union. But Boston Public Schools went fully remote in October due to an increase in coronavirus cases.

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