Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday delayed the next step of Boston's reopening, citing an increase in COVID-19 cases that he partly blamed on a growing number of house parties.
The city is on the cusp of reaching an infection rate that the state deems too high for further reopening, Walsh said. As a result, he said, Boston has decided not to join other cities moving to the next phase of reopening Monday.
That means that gyms, museums and libraries will remain limited to 40% of capacity and that indoor performance venues will stay closed, among other restrictions.
“We want to make sure that we stop the increase before it comes to a point where we’re having the entire city shut down again,” Walsh said at a news conference.
The city's latest average infection rate is 3.5%, up from a previous average of 2.7%, he said. Rates in some neighborhoods have topped 7%.
Half the recent cases have been among people under age 29, Walsh said. He cited the city's large number of universities as a factor, but said rates are also rising among those not in college.
An increase in complaints about noisy parties suggests that house parties are to blame for some of the increase, he said.
“To anyone who's hosting house parties, I'm urging you not to do it,” he said. “On Sunday when the Patriots are playing, we’re asking you not to have house parties; we’re asking you not to gather in large groups.”
He also asked the city's college students to heed that call.
"You wanted to come to college in Boston, you wanted to be treated like adults. Well then, act like it," he said. "We're asking you to be responsible."