‘Don’t be hanging on the beach’: Walsh urges Bostonians to behave responsibly over Memorial Day weekend

BOSTON (WHDH) - With new coronavirus cases and deaths finally starting to decline in Boston, Mayor Martin J. Walsh on Thursday urged residents to behave responsibly over Memorial Day weekend because the city is “still in the early stages” of the coronavirus pandemic.

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“I have major concerns because we’re still in the very early stages of this pandemic here in Boston,” Walsh said when asked about the beautiful weekend forecast during a news conference at City Hall. “All indications say that we can be battling this pandemic for eight months to a year.”

Walsh stressed the importance of limiting gatherings to less than 10 people at cookouts and on city beaches to limit the spread of COVID-19.

“As we begin to think about reopening, I think it’s important for people to stay healthy so that when the opportunity opens up for them to go back to work, they can go back to work.”

Walsh asked all Bostonians to continue to practicing social distancing and to wear a mask if they do go out this weekend.

“I’m personally asking people, don’t be hanging on the beach,” Walsh said. “Don’t be playing volleyball on the beach, don’t be doing things like that.”

Beaches are set to reopen Monday with social distancing guidelines in place under Gov. Charles Baker’s four-phase plan.

Walsh said city studies have shown that about 10 percent of residents have tested positive for coronavirus or they have antibodies in their system, but 600,000 people have not.

“It’s still in the stages where there’s a lot of room for the virus to be spread,” Walsh said of the pandemic. “Don’t put yourself at risk of being one of the folks in the numbers that I read every day.”

At this point, Walsh said he doesn’t anticipate having to deploy police officers to monitor beaches.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is urging people not to travel this weekend, saying, “We are encouraging individuals to continue to limit their travel to help ensure their health and safety. If you do need to travel, drive responsibly.”

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