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Mayor Marty Walsh on Sunday said Boston is at the start of a surge of coronavirus cases and deaths, as the city saw its largest one-day jump in reported cases.
Boston now has 1,877 confirmed cases and 15 deaths attributed to COVID-19. That's up 259 cases from Saturday.
"That’s what a surge looks like and we’re still at the beginning of the surge," Walsh said.
Starting Monday, Boston will have a recommended curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., Walsh said. That won't apply to essential workers.
Walsh is also following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and is asking everyone to wear a mask when leaving their house. Walsh said that could be a scarf, bandana or any other material that covers a person's nose and mouth.
At the end of the press conference Sunday, Walsh donned his own handmade cloth mask. He directed people who are able to craft masks to the Boston Area Mask Initiative, which is collecting and distributing masks to medical workers.
"This is an unprecedented situation. It’s asked a lot from us," Walsh said. "It’s going to ask more from us over the next few weeks."
Boston City Hall will reduce the hours it is open to the public. It will only be open Tuesdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those who need to do business there must make an appointment.
Walsh said he is still concerned about people gathering too closely in city parks. He said park officials will close tennis, basketball and street hockey courts to further dissuade people from congregating.
He said police officers are empowered to break up gatherings.
“They can and will issue violations but it shouldn't have to come to that," Walsh said.
Gov. Charlie Baker this week closed state-run beach parking lots to prevent crowds from gathering there.
Walsh said he understood the desire to go outside on a sunny day like Saturday, and he knows as the spring progresses, there will be many other nice days. But he warned that not acting to slow the spread now could have lasting effects.
"If people pay attention to those rules and guidelines, then we might be able to have cookouts this summer," he said. "If you don't if you don't pay attention to these guidelines, then what's going to happen is that we won't have a summer, quite honestly, because it is about stopping the spread of the virus."
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