Walsh: No Plans to Shut Down Boston Restaurants Unless COVID Numbers Increase

The mayor said the city has actually seen a decrease in the number of daily coronavirus cases for the first time in five weeks

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Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday that he has no plans to shut down restaurants in Boston as long as the coronavirus numbers continue to decline.

"We have no intention of shutting down restaurants in Boston as of right now. A week from now if we're in a different place, we might have a different conversation, but as of right now we have no plans to shut restaurants down," he said.

Walsh said Boston has actually seen a decrease in the number of daily coronavirus cases for the first time in five weeks.

As of Tuesday, there were 25,962 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Boston and 903 deaths. Nearly 21,000 people have recovered from the virus.

"We're going in the right direction," Walsh said. "We just need to continue to see that trend."

He attributed the decreased number of COVID-19 cases to several factors, including Gov. Charlie Baker's stay-at-home advisory and restaurant curfew.

"I think more people are paying attention to the public health recommendations. People are hearing it," the mayor said.

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

Despite the positive trend he highlighted Wednesday and Boston being free of the state's highest-risk designation for three weeks, Walsh said his city will not advance to the second step of Phase 3 of the state's reopening plan.

"We need to continue and we're going to continue to take cautious approaches to get our numbers going down consistently. We just need to continue to see these numbers going down," he said.

Marty Martinez, the city's chief of health and human services, cautioned that "one week of data does not make a trend," and said residents need to keep doing all of the right things, including wearing masks and social distancing.

"Hopefully, this is a trend in the right direction," he said. "I think we just need to keep reminding ourselves that we've got a long way to go through COVID."

The CDC is urging everyone in the U.S. not to travel for Thanksgiving, a last-minute attempt to curb behaviors that could lead to a spike in coronavirus cases.

Walsh acknowledged Wednesday that many restaurants are still struggling, especially as the weather starts to get colder, making outdoor dining a less attractive option for customers.

He said outdoor dining on sidewalks and city streets expires on Dec. 1, but restaurants with outdoor spaces on their own private property will be allowed to continue operating them. And he said his office is already working on plans for outdoor dining for the spring, which he hopes to announce soon.

Walsh warned 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.

"It would be a terrible tragedy to see outbreaks driven by family gatherings cause people to get sick and potentially lose their lives," he said.

State House News Service contributed to this report.

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