Boston is considering pausing indoor dining and reducing indoor and outdoor gathering limits due to a continued spike in coronavirus cases in the city, according to the Boston Globe.
The paper said Marty Martinez, Boston's chief of health and human services, announced at a virtual roundtable Friday that the city is considering a two to three week pause on indoor dining, in addition to reducing the limit on indoor gatherings from 25 to 10 and the limit on outdoor gatherings from 50 to 25.
“It’s important right now when we see this uptick, we have to do all the prevention stuff that’s in front of us, but we also have to consider how might we tighten restrictions on some of the reopening efforts,” Martinez said, according to the Globe.
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Boston health officials reported 184 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total since the start of the pandemic to 10,170. The city also reported four new deaths, for a total of 782. There are currently just short of 2,000 active cases in Boston.
On Thursday, Mayor Marty Walsh asked all Boston residents to get tested for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not due to a five-week long trend of rising cases across the city.
He announced a new pledge called “Get The Test Boston,” complete with an "I got the test" sticker for people who get tested. Several employers have signed on, including the Boston Red Sox and Wayfair -- they'll make sure their workers know how to get tested for the virus.
As part of the initiative, all City of Boston employees who are eligible for benefits will have one paid hour every two weeks to get tested for the virus.
"We know that the virus is spreading among people who don't have symptoms and people who don't know that they have been exposed," Walsh said. "I'm encouraging you to get tested and make it a regular part of your routine."
The mayor's news conference came after Superintendent Brenda Cassellius said she is working to get students with the highest needs back in the classroom, a move that would come after the district went fully remote last week due to coronavirus safety concerns.
"It's extremely heartbreaking for us not to provide these to our students and it’s been very challenging and difficult to speak with the parents who are just really desperate for this care for their children,” Cassellius said.
The district pivoted to full remote learning on Oct. 22 as part of an effort to curb the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the city. The decision came amid an alarming rise in positive cases in Boston.
A schools spokesperson clarified Wednesday that schools would not be reopening this week, though Cassellius had earlier in the week suggested it was a possibility.
"We are working with our teachers and educators to construct an approach to provide in-person services to our students with the highest needs," BPS representative Xavier Andrews said. "We will provide families with an update as soon as the plan is fully developed."