Some Massachusetts businesses are expected to begin reopening on May 18, and many of those businesses are looking to state and local officials for guidance on what reopening during the pandemic might look like. WGBH's Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu spoke with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh about how he plans to help the city reopen and the challenges that lie ahead. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Joe Mathieu: Gov. Baker's phase one will be detailed on Monday when the stay at home advisory comes down. What do you do, though, when you're in charge of the biggest city in the state with the most cases? You're facing different challenges than a lot of other cities and towns.

Mayor Marty Walsh: I mean, [the] focus on Boston right now is reaching predetermined public health benchmarks that tells us when it's safe to reopen a business in the city of Boston. We're obviously working with the state and talking to other municipalities around the commonwealth of Massachusetts. It's important that people understand that this isn't going to be a flip the switch situation where everything is going to be coming on. This is going to be a coordinated, phased approach, and that's what I'm going to do in the city of Boston — this coordinated, phased approach to reopening the city and making sure that as we open different industries, we have the proper protocols in place. I'm concerned about — I think we all are — a second spike. Certainly we've heard Dr. Fauci talk about it yesterday. There's been stories in the Globe this morning and other papers about the importance of keeping an eye on that second spike. ... And that's what we don't want to do, so we have to be cautious as we move forward here.

Mathieu: There are also questions about child care operations. They're closed until the end of June, which some people might not remember. That's a whole month after some other restrictions may be lifted. They will likely have fewer slots available, Mayor. This could become a real challenge for some parents.

Walsh: Yeah, and I think as we think about reopening that doesn't necessarily mean that everyone has to go back to work. I think we have to have an emphasis on people staying at home, working from home ... split shifts, if you will — not having everyone in the same space. We're going to have social distancing. As I think about City Hall, the building itself and the employees, we're looking at making sure that everyone has the proper distance to each other, making sure that we have the proper PPE, medical equipment and the masks, [and] making sure that there's signage and postage so that people could clearly wash their hands because virus is not going away.

So when we do open, it's still going to be very contagious and it's still going to be a worldwide pandemic. People are still gonna get the virus. Unfortunately, people are still going to die from the virus. So we have to be very thoughtful and very careful of exactly how we move forward. I know that people are anxious and I'm hearing a lot of people saying that this too long [and] we got to open the economy. We understand that and realize that, but it's also about safety and health risks on people. And so I'm not going to make a knee-jerk reaction because somebody is upset because they're not open yet, because what I don't want to see happen is that same business that is saying, 'Let's open today,' in the month of July, August or September, we're closing everything down again. That'll be far more damaging to that company than anything else.

Mathieu: Based on the replies I saw from your tweet when you were coming on the broadcast this morning, Mr. Mayor, I can only imagine what your voicemail box is like right now. People are obviously becoming impatient and frustrated. I'm wondering, though, as you look at the weather forecast, it's going to start getting nice around here in a minute. Are you worried about people congregating in the city in the warm weather?

Walsh: Of course I worry about that, because we'll see an increase in cases. And I think that it's important that as people go out today and tomorrow — I think tomorrow's going to be 71 [degrees] — they understand that the virus is still very much contagious, it's still very much here, and you want to prevent yourself and your family from getting the virus. So I want to take the precautions that have been in place with the social distancing and the washing of the hands.

I just want to go back to something you said right before this though when you said people are angry and anxious. I don't think people are angry. I think they're concerned. I think that concern is perceived as anger. I think they're really concerned. Business owners are concerned about their businesses, folks that go to work every day are concerned about their livelihood [and] their families. ... So I think that that's really what's going on here. This virus is something that none of us have ever experienced. And to be honest with you, I know everyone's over it right now — we're ready to move on. But unfortunately, we're not there yet. We're waiting for vaccines, we're waiting for cures or for it to go away, and I don't think the last part is what's going to happen here.

Mathieu: I know you're in contact with Gov. Baker very often about all of this stuff, and you're probably talking about a lot of ideas. As we consider the summer arriving, the Fourth of July and so forth, Mr. Mayor, would you consider asking the governor to close the esplanade if need be?

Walsh: I think we'll have to see what happens. I don't think there'll be gatherings on the Esplanade on the Fourth of July unless we're in a different place.

Mathieu: Or even just college kids get together on the dock to get a suntan, you know?

Walsh: We still have six weeks to go, so I think that as we've all realized, a week is a lifetime here and numbers change and things change drastically. The last three days in Boston, the numbers have been down as far as positive cases, but so has the testing. So you can't really fully gauge what the true number is, but I think that we're trending in the right direction. There's no question about it.

Our hospital capacity is available for folks that have other illnesses. They're definitely treating COVID patients, but we have capacity. Those are all good signs, and I think we just have to continue to monitor. The one thing [noticed when] I started this conversation, the doctors and the scientists [are all concerned about] going back to work too soon. But they're also providing data, and that data right now is indicating that we're trending in the right direction. I think that it's important for us to to continue to monitor that. It's also important for us to monitor what happens in other cities and states. LA is taking a very aggressive approach to keeping their cases down. Their cases are below Boston, I believe, and they have put in more strict [shelter] in place [orders]. So we have to watch and see what other places are doing as well and share the best practices. We'll get through this. It's not a matter of how, it's a matter of when we get through this.

Mathieu: But to be clear, you mentioned LA, Mr. Mayor. Are you reserving the right to do what you have to do to extend restrictions or whatever might measure might be required to keep the city safe even as the state moves in its own direction?

Walsh: I think absolutely. But again, it's a coordinated effort. I think that in New York state, they're easing restrictions in some different parts of the state, but not in the city. So I think that it's, literally, we look at these different situations and we handle them as they come in.