Health

Local leaders worry Thanksgiving will be a superspreader event: Would that mean another shutdown?

BOSTON — It’s often been said not to make decisions based on fear.

But, could making a decision to shut down businesses be the wise move to save lives, even if it’s based on fear? Three days before Thanksgiving, local leaders are having that discussion as the fear of seeing more cases pop up after the holiday could mean bad news for the state.

After a rise in cases, we’re now seeing a rise in fear of another forced shutdown or the need for stricter public health orders.

“That was my biggest worry, I got to be on this and I have to be vocal now because I don’t want them saying you have three days and then you’re closing indoor dining and that’s it, it’s not enough time,” said Pammy’s owner Pam Willis who took a couple of hours away from her struggling Cambridge business. “You have to ruffle some feathers so everybody knows we are here saying please, please do not abandon us.”

She wanted to listen in and speak out to the Cambridge City Council Monday night about the fear of potentially shutting down nonessential businesses.

The council does not have any authority to shut down businesses, but they can, however, make a recommendation to the city manager.

“We know Covid-19 is surging [again] but we also know we are getting into the holiday season and retail and restaurants are devastated, they are all at 25% to 30% of where they were last year,” said Harvard Square Business Association Executive Director Denise Jillson. “Our businesses, most of them cannot withstand another shutdown.”

The difficult decisions about survival are happening in Cambridge and across the commonwealth.

“[We’re] both trying to survive Covid-19 but also put food in our families bellies,” said Willis.

“Thanksgiving clearly represents a potential for us to see an increase in COVID-19 cases, similar to how it was in Canada,” said Governor Charlie Baker.

A holiday to help us grow in thankfulness is now making some grow in fear

“I have heard a lot of people traveling so likely cases will increase because they are already increasing,” said Cambridge resident Andrew Stevens. “Even though we’re done with the virus, the virus is not done with us so I think we need to do whatever we can to save everyone’s lives, if that means shutting down nonessential businesses I think that’s what we have to do to make sure we stay healthy.”

“I am not [for spreading] Covid-19, I want everybody to be safe and if they think they should shut down restaurants, good God, let’s shut the restaurants down but let’s give them relief so we can open back up,” said Willis.

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