Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced a city-wide curfew for non-emergency workers in Boston from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., as part of his rollout of stricter guidelines in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
At a news conference Sunday, Walsh said he’ll be closing tennis, hockey and basketball courts in public parks on Monday to discourage anyone from gathering in a group. Anyone who does not follow the guidelines on public gatherings can be issued a violation from the Boston Police.
“If it comes to this, they can and will issue violations, but it shouldn't have to come to that,” Walsh said. “We are urging people to use common sense so that the police are not put in a position where they need to do this.”
When asked about whether the how the police would handle people who are out after 9 p.m., he gave a similar answer.
"Whether it's the parks or the curfew, our public our public safety personnel — our police — should not be having to enforce this," Walsh said. "This is this is common sense, quite honestly."
Walsh said the curfew was originally scheduled to end at 7 a.m., but was pushed up to 6 a.m. to give elderly residents an opportunity to commute to the grocery store during limited hours dedicated to them. The mayor addressed vulnerable populations directly, pleading with them not to go outside their homes for any reason other than what is absolutely necessary.
“We're asking everyone to do all they can to avoid transmitting the disease to you,” Walsh said. “We're also reminding you to take extra precautions, only go out when you actually need to … instead of taking a walk or exercising [outside] your home, we ask you, if you can, to exercise inside your home to keep you safe.”
All residents are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering when outside their homes, Walsh said, in accordance with new CDC guidelines. “It's important that we preserve medical grade masks for health care workers and direct responders,” Walsh said. “But we can all help slow the spread by covering our faces.”
Last week, Gov. Charlie Baker extended the stay-at-home advisory to May 4. Walsh says he’s “not certain” that the advisory will be lifted by then, but following protocols and staying inside will increase the likelihood that the advisory is lifted sooner.
“It's incumbent upon each and every one of us to do our part to keep people safe,” Walsh said. “If people pay attention to those rules and guidelines, then we might be able to have cookouts this summer.”
This post has been updated to add information about how Boston will handle curfew violations.