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Walsh: Officials shouldn’t offer ‘empty promises’ about ending restrictions amid coronavirus outbreak

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh
Boston Mayor Martin J. WalshCraig F. Walker/Globe Staff/The Boston Globe

In the wake of President Trump’s call to reopen the country by Easter, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh Sunday urged fellow elected officials to not make “empty promises” about when to end restrictions on daily life caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked about Trump’s call to have the county “opened up and just raring to go by Easter,” Walsh said on WCVB’s “On The Record" that elected leaders must be very careful about what they say to residents about the disease.

“We have to be consistent. And somebody going out and saying, ‘We’re going to be open by Easter,’ that’s not true,” Walsh said, adding that Trump has since walked back the prediction.

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Walsh said that in his conversations with Boston residents, he has communicated that we are at the beginning of the outbreak now. And even if there appears to be a decline in cases, there could be a resurgence of the disease, as what happened in Hong Kong, he said.

“When we hit the plateau of cases, when we see those cases going down, that’s not the time to come out of your house,” Walsh said. “We need to make sure we get through a period of time so we won’t see a resurgence of coronavirus cases.”

After Trump raised Easter as a time to reopen much of the country, health experts warned it was too soon to do so, and people must continue practicing social distancing to slow the number of infections and avoid overwhelming the nation’s health system.

Walsh said the pandemic’s impact was unthinkable two or three months ago. Now much of state is shut down, schools are closed, and Walsh has also ordered a halt to virtually all construction in Boston, except for emergencies.

“Shutting down society as we know it for the most part is something that I would never have imagined as mayor of the city of Boston,” Walsh said.

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During his appearance at the WCVB studios, Walsh, along with hosts Janet Wu and Ed Harding, were kept apart and seated at separate desks to practice social distancing.


John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com.