Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday the city is considering new measures to help businesses and commuters practice social distancing once the state’s stay at home advisory is lifted.
“As summer approaches and as the weather brings more people outdoors and as we prepare for a phased reopening, we want to make sure that we have enough space for safe distancing," Walsh said. "We want to make sure our small businesses can get the support they need, and we want to make sure everyone has safe and healthy transportation options. So in addition to our planned capital investment in safe and sustainable streets, we have been looking for ways to expand space for pedestrians, small business customers, cyclists and bus commuters.”
The measures include ideas for remodeling certain aspects of public transportation in the city, several of which have previously been considered by city officials, such as expanding sidewalks in business districts, dedicating street lanes for pedestrian and cyclist use, and expanded bus stops and priority bus lanes.
“If these ideas will help us meet our goals, we will develop a poll for specific locations to share with the community for their feedback before moving forward,” said the mayor.
The announcement came just hours afterGov. Charlie Baker publicly outlined a four-phase strategy for reopening businesses in Massachusetts. Walsh said Baker’s phased plan is “the right way” to go about reopening and added that the city is engaged in its own discussions with private sector stakeholders about reopening.
“I think as long as these different [industries] can prove that they can [re]open safely,” Walsh said, responding to a reporter question about different industries opening in a staggered manner. “I also think it’s vitally important to look at the data,” he said.
Walsh also announced that as of Monday, Boston is up to 11,106 coronavirus cases and 533 coronavirus-related deaths. He also said roughly 5 percent of the city’s population has now been tested for COVID-19.
“We need to continue to make physical distancing, face coverings and good hygiene a priority,” he said.