Boston 25 News anchor Vanessa Welch talks one-on-one with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh

From testing in a snowstorm, to rollbacks, schools opening, and the vaccine, Boston 25 News had a frank discussion Wednesday with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh. Below is an excerpt of that conversation.

BOSTON — Vanessa Welch: We know because of the snow, most people won’t be able to get tested tomorrow, are you worried that this could lead to even longer lines and people waiting even longer to get their test results?

Mayor Walsh: You know, a little concerned. But I do think that there’s a safety factor here that we’ll need people to be careful, we will have testing sites that back up and running full capacity on Friday, and people will be able to get tested. Tomorrow is a day that we should be careful and safe for each other. And, you know, try and stay off the roads.

ON ROLLBACKS:

Vanessa Welch: The new rollback start today, how difficult was it for you to make that decision?

Mayor Walsh: It’s horrible. I mean, there are no good decisions. There’s no good decisions at all here. When we talk about rolling things back. And businesses have had a brutal year, people have had a brutal year. And 2020 has just been one of those years that we just want to turn the page on.

We want to have a booming city, we want people coming here, we want people shopping here. We want people eating here, we want people working out here.

But unfortunately, it’s about keeping people safe and alive.

Vanessa Welch: I’m sure you’re hearing a lot from restaurant owners, we are as well. And they keep telling us that the data shows it’s gatherings in homes that are the problem, not restaurants. And they’re saying that these restrictions are costing them their livelihoods and their jobs.

Mayor Walsh: Right now, it really is about taking care of your personal health. It’s about wearing a mask, about washing hands. It’s about not being connected to other people, not congregating. All of that. And the quicker we do that, the faster we can open our restaurants to full capacity,

I sympathize with the restaurants on this. I’ve been talking to them, I’m advocating for them.

Vanessa Welch: And do you anticipate even more rollbacks If cases continue to rise?

Mayor Walsh: Absolutely. And that’s something that’s really hard to say. But the issue is not just about cases rising, it’s about hospitalization. Our hospitals are stressed, our nurses are stressed, doctors are stressed.

That has to be the number one priority here in the city of Boston when it comes to health.

ON SCHOOLS:

Vanessa Welch: We know hundreds of high needs students went back to the classroom last week in Boston, but there are still 1000s of students who are learning remotely. This is so tough, not only on the students, but also on their parents who are trying to work during all of this as well. What’s the plan, from your perspective to try to get more of these kids back into the classroom in the new year?

Mayor Walsh: So our plan for January is to continue to work to get the virus down, we’re going to be rolling out a phased-in approach to get kids back in school, we had one back in September, we weren’t able to get everyone back into school. But we’re planning again to try that in January, February and get our kids back into school.

Vanessa Welch: A lot of families say that they feel that the district is at the mercy of the teachers union. Do you agree with that?

Mayor Walsh: No, not at all. I mean, we’ve obviously… the teachers union has not been happy with some of the decisions we’ve made as of late, and I can understand the concern there, but in at the end of the day, they want to get our kids back in school. So what we need to do now is stop picking sides and being together, moving towards a solution to get our kids back into schools.

Vanessa Welch: We saw workers at Boston Medical Center yesterday dancing as the first Coronavirus vaccine shipments arrived in Boston, what was your reaction? How did you feel when those shipments arrived in your city?

Mayor Walsh: It was great to see that I mean, first of all, thank you to those workers.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel. The issue is now: how long is that tunnel before we get out of it.

I pray that we get through it, I get pray that people are safe. I mean, that’s what we got to do right now. And faith is important for people that have faith and believe in a higher power.

I just ask everyone to continue to look out for each other continue to work together. We’ve been knocked down before in the city and in this country. And we always get back up. And we’re going to get back up after this.

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