City of Boston preparing to extend stay-at-home regulations as cases of COVID-19 intensify

BOSTON — The City of Boston is currently preparing for the event where officials may have to extend stay-at-home regulations amid the ever-changing COVID-19 scenario.

The deadly virus, which continues to claim more lives and infect thousands more across the world daily, has had a significant impact on people’s daily lives and on businesses - not to mention the toll it has taken on the healthcare system.

“We’re going to continue to plan for the worst and hope for the best,” said Mayor Marty Walsh at a press conference on Monday.

Walsh announced the city was preparing for a city-wide shutdown should the COVID-19 crisis escalate to a point where officials would have no choice but to crack down on enforcing stay-at-home regulations.

His team has been working with a consulting firm on ways the city could respond to the worst case scenario.

“We brought this group in to help us create a plan for the inevitable if there’s an inevitable that we have to close the city down and how do we get services back to the residents of Boston,” said Walsh.

For now, Walsh says they’re in this for the long haul, where he and his team have been looking at ways to extend the stay-at-home restrictions beyond the next couple of weeks. Schools across the state are closed until May 4 for the time being.

“When we closed schools, we kind of did it farther along than anyone else, until April 27th, and then the governor came back with May 4th," said said Walsh. “I’m going to be completely honest with people – if we think that May 4th, the coronavirus is going to be gone, it’s not. I think that we’re in this for the long haul and I think that we need to do everything we can to keep people safe.”

Referencing the dreary weather in the city, Walsh said it’s easier to keep people indoors and incentivize people to practice social distancing, but he’s worried if these restrictions have to extend into May, it’ll be much harder to keep people isolated and at home.

“For this week we’re looking at chilly weather and rain but people need to understand that if we get a 60 or 70 degree day, that doesn’t mean you go to the beach, that doesn’t mean you hang out at the park, that doesn’t mean you hang out with each other, that doesn’t mean you have a cookout- for the foreseeable future,” said Walsh.

While Walsh acknowledges it’s tough to go through this with no clear deadline in sight for when things can start going back to normal, social distancing is one of the most important things we can do as a community right now.

“Close to 50 percent of our cases are in people under the age of 39, so it’s really important when we message this out, people understand that the virus can impact all people,” said Walsh.