A heat emergency was declared by Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Friday, as the region braces for extremely hot weather predicted to last until Tuesday.
At times, temperatures are expected to soar into the high 90s and may break 100 degrees. To combat the extreme weather, the city of Boston has converted 20 Boston Center for Youth & Families (BCYF) facilities into public cooling areas as an option for the residents to escape the heat.
"Please take the necessary steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 and from the heat and humidity that we expect over the weekend," Walsh said in a statement issued Friday. "Continue to practice social distancing, avoid crowds, wash your hands often, and wear a face covering. If the face covering causes you to overheat, find a shaded area where you can maintain six feet of distance from others, and then remove the face covering so that you can breathe easily and cool down."
These cooling centers will be open on Sunday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Monday, July 20, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. — when temperatures are expected to be the highest.
A full list of centers — including hours of operation — is available here.
Residents are advised to call ahead to before going to a cooling center, as public health regulations for the COVID-19 pandemic are in effect. Calling ahead will give residents a good idea if the center is already at its occupancy limit, which is 40% of the building's maximum permitted occupancy.
Face coverings over the nose and mouth are mandatory if entering a cooling center, people must maintain six feet distance from one another, and visitors will be screened before they are able to go inside. Anyone headed to a cooling center must bring their own water and can only bring one small bag inside.
The city has also compiled a list of suggestions to deal with such extreme temperatures, which can be found on the Boston city website.