Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Sunday he would announce stricter social distancing guidelines in the city to curb the spread of the coronavirus during an interview with NBC10 Boston.
Walsh said despite the current guidelines, many people could be seen playing sports and at local parks and playgrounds.
“This has to stop,” Walsh said. “Everyone has to take this seriously.”
Walsh said his administration was considering measures such as an enforced mandatory curfew or stay-at-home order.
“That’s certainly something that’s being discussed here at City Hall,” Walsh told NBC10 Boston.
“That’s the last resort but we’re headed towards that,” said Walsh. “We’re preparing for the next steps.”
Walsh will address the public Sunday afternoon.
Meanwhile, construction continues to transform the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center into a field hospital to house the overflow of patients from the city’s hospitals.
“We’re hoping we don’t need it,” Walsh said. “We’re building it, and I’m hoping it stays empty. These are just for emergency purposes.”
Part of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is being used to build 500 beds for homeless people with coronavirus who don’t require hospitalization. Construction began Thursday.
Boston is also setting aside several million dollars in relief funds for many tenants and small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis, Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday.
The city has already raised more than $20 million through its resiliency fund and made a series of other moves to ease the burden the coronavirus has places on residents and businesses. Walsh characterized the small business loans as a “lifeline.”
Another 500 beds will serve as overflow for city hospitals, which Walsh said isn’t required at the moment but may be necessary down the line. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker had said Wednesday that the convention center was being turned into a field hospital, following the lead of the DCU Center in Worcester.
Latest info shows surge to hit Massachusetts between April 10-20, with 47,000 to 172,000 cases of confirmed coronavirus cases expected.
“I’m hoping we never have to use the convention center for hospital overflow,” Walsh told NBC10 Boston. “Our hospitals can be prepared for this if we don’t get the virus.”
“We can thank the (health care workers) all we want, but if you’re not adhering to the rules and regulations that we’re asking for, then you’re not helping a doctor, you’re not helping your nurse, you’re not helping the people that need to be helped at this particular moment,” said Walsh.
The city has had to put zip ties on its basketball hoops to prevent people from playing on the courts and congregating in large groups. Hockey and tennis nets were also removed and new signage went up in parks last week.
Market Basket has announced additional social distancing measures that will take effect April 2, including limiting the number of customers shopping at one time.