Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the creation of a new emergency relief fund to address the coronavirus pandemic during a Monday afternoon press conference.
"As we deal with the immediate business of keeping people healthy and safe in Boston, we've also been preparing for our long-term recovery efforts," Walsh said. "There is no doubt that the coronavirus will have long-term impacts on our community."
That new fund — dubbed the Boston Resiliency Fund — is targeted at helping Boston families with childcare and elderly services and will raise money for local organizations through "fundraising and philanthropic efforts." It will also look at food access, technology for students at home and how to support health care workers and first responders.
"Our health care workers are crucial to our recovery efforts," he said. "We need to make sure that they can stay in their jobs and do their job[s]."
Walsh also announced the closure of all Boston Public Libraries and construction sites across the city.
According to the mayor, construction sites would be allowed to have a minimum number of workers to secure sites through Monday, but regular activity would be prohibited effective Tuesday.
"These decisions we make are not easy," Walsh said. "But they're out of an abundance of caution. It's about protecting the worker and preventing the spread of the coronavirus."
He also said that libraries would be closed effective Monday at 6 p.m. Boston Public Library made its own announcement via Twitter.
"For the health and safety of our patrons and staff, all locations of the Boston Public Library will close until further notice, beginning tonight at 6pm; all online services will remain available," the statement reads.
For the health and safety of our patrons and staff, all locations of the Boston Public Library will close until further notice, beginning tonight at 6pm; all online services will remain available. Learn more: https://t.co/LEdSi9KR26 pic.twitter.com/I84zw9wkVZ— BostonPublicLibrary (@BPLBoston) March 16, 2020
During the closure, patrons will be allowed to borrow materials for up to 15 weeks and all late fees will be waived through May 1. There will be no suspensions of library online services.
"We know how important library resources are to the people of Boston, especially while schools are closed," Walsh said, adding that online resources would be increased. "This is a difficult decision because a lot of people use the library as a place to go to get their information, and we're not taking this closure lightly."
He added that Boston Centers for Youth and Families community centers, pools, gyms and all services will be suspended effective Wednesday. Select centers will remain open to maintain youth meal services through the closure of Boston Public Schools.