After introducing a new round of closures and restrictions in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus in Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh said — apart from essential services like hospitals, pharmacies, and supermarkets — the city is essentially shut down.
“For the most part, you’re seeing that right now,” the mayor told Jim Braude Monday night on WGBH News’ Greater Boston. “The streets of Boston are pretty quiet today, not much traffic out there. I think people are really paying attention and that potentially can make a real big difference when it comes to the spread of the virus.”
Mayor Walsh announced earlier today that he was suspending construction across the city, closing several Boston Centers for Youth and Families and shutting down all library branches — a day after he declared a public health emergency in Boston and set a mandatory 11 p.m. closing time for all restaurants and coffee shops. That order was later overshadowed by a broader ban on dine-in restaurants and bars imposed by Gov. Baker Sunday night.
Walsh said the tipping point was the crowd of people who flocked to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in South Boston on Saturday, despite warnings to avoid large groups of people.
“We’re trying to prevent what’s called community spread from happening and having people in line there was not really good for them and dangerous for other people, too, because if they contract coronavirus and they’re going around the communities, that’s when community spread happens.”
The mayor also announced the creation of a new Boston Resiliency Fund to ensure access to food, provide technology for students learning from home and childcare for the first responders who still have to show up for work. He told host Jim Braude the city quickly exceeded its original goal.
“We actually thought, just to speculate, maybe we could raise $10 million. We raised $10 million today, now the goal is $20 million.”
Mayor Walsh also responded to critics who say he and his administration are overreacting and enacting stronger restrictions than are necessary.
“I hope we’ve gone too far,” the mayor said. “I hope in three weeks people can say, ‘You did too much, it shouldn’t have happened.’ I hope that’s the answer.”