New protocols for slowing the spread of coronavirus in Boston

April 6, 2020 News

I want to thank you for your continued support in helping slow the spread of the coronavirus. I will continue to keep you updated on guidance for you and your families, and new steps the City is taking to keep people safe.

As of Sunday, the state had recorded 12,500 cases of coronavirus and 231 deaths. There have been 1,877 cases in Boston residents. 181 Boston residents have recovered, and 15 have passed away. We continue to grieve and pray for all families who have lost a loved one, and those who are currently battling this terrible illness.

We are still at the beginning of a 2-3 week surge in cases that will be very difficult for us as a city. But I am confident we can rise to the occasion–if we all act responsibly and do the right thing.

New local data shows that social distancing in the next two weeks is critical to flattening the curve and saving lives. For that reason, today I announced new, stronger guidelines to help us do that. These go into effect today, April 6 and run through May 4.

  • The City is asking everyone to wear a face covering whenever they leave their home. Up to 25% of people who are infected are not showing symptoms, so the more people wear coverings, the more effective this strategy will be. The covering can be a scarf, bandana, or other type of cloth that covers your mouth and nose and allows you to breathe comfortably.
  • The City of Boston is strengthening the state’s Stay At Home advisory by adding a recommended curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. until May 4th. It applies to everyone except essential workers. I’m also urging everyone to be more effective in their social distancing while at grocery stores and pharmacies. People should not go in a group; you should get what they need and leave, with no aimless browsing; and you should be conscientious of other patrons by taking necessary steps to remain at least 6 feet from other people at all times.
  • Starting this week, City Hall will only be open to the public on Tuesdays and Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. In addition, everyone entering the building will be subject to screening for COVID symptoms, including elevated temperature. I’m reminding residents that they should only come into City Hall if it is absolutely necessary, and if the service they need is not available online or over the phone, and that they need to call ahead to make an appointment before visiting City Hall. City Hall will be closed to the public this coming Friday, April 10 in observance of Good Friday.
  • The pause on non-essential construction work remains in place in the City of Boston. I’m also urging developers and general contractors that are exempt to this order to use common sense and voluntarily shut down their work if possible. Put people before profits.
  • The City of Boston is closing sports facilities at all City parks, including basketball, tennis, and street hockey courts. Signs have been posted in all parks and playgrounds, and all equipment will be locked up or disabled. No group activities should take place anywhere, including fitness classes in open spaces. People will still have access to the open spaces where they can walk, run, or get fresh air by themselves while practicing physical distancing. Police officers are empowered to disperse gatherings under the state advisory; they can order people to vacate closed sections of parks; and they will issue violations if necessary.

All of these measures will help us further slow the spread of the virus, keep more people healthy, and ensure that our healthcare system does not become overwhelmed. Yesterday I also announced swift progress in expanding capacity for our medical system: by this week, there will be 1000 new beds; 6 acute care suites; a physical therapy suite; 52 nurses stations; and 48 bathroom facilities at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in South Boston. That’s an incredible testament to the teamwork and dedication of City, Convention Center, corporate, and union employees all working together. It’s in addition to several hundred new beds we’re adding at sites across the City dedicated to giving our homeless population space to practice physical distancing, receive medical care, and quarantine if necessary.

I am sincerely grateful to all of our dedicated City staff, and our partners in the state, in our healthcare community, and our local nonprofits and businesses that are stepping up to support our efforts.

I also want you to understand the most important message: we are not powerless. That is the point of the new guidelines I announced today. They empower you, me, and all of us, to fight this virus.

What we do now and over the next two weeks will make the difference, for some people, between living and dying. I want to thank the residents of Boston for all you have done already. I want to thank you for everything you continue to do. I want to thank you for staying safe; staying inside your home; and staying Boston Strong.

You can find more information by visiting, by calling the City’s 24-hour hotline at 3-1-1, or by texting BOSCOVID to 9-9-4-1-1 to receive text alerts on a regular basis. These alerts are available in 6 languages.

And as always, I will continue to keep you informed with these regular updates.

With gratitude,