Mayor Walsh said that with Covid-19 numbers rapidly increasing in Boston, he's begun to consider whether Boston needs to follow other cities, most recently Philadelphia, and shut restaurant indoor dining again - although he added we're not quite at that point yet and Bostonians can still turn things around the way they did earlier this year.
And if that happens, ISD enforcement of the state 10-person limit on indoor gatherings would not be far behind, Walsh said at a morning press conference outside City Hall.
Walsh said the city saw 224 Covid-19 cases today, compared to just 10 to 15 a day in the summer, and that the percentage of people who get positive Covid-19 test results is now near 10% citywide.
Boston is not yet at the point where stricter measures than constant requests to wear masks and wash hands are needed, but we're not far from that point, he said. If the numbers don't start coming down, "we're going to have to do more. ... In the end, there is no economic recovery without public health."
Referring specifically to indoor dining, he said, "If need be we will will take that action in Boston." He said he does not have a specific trigger number, but will look at all the stats before making such a decision. "The last resort would be to shut things down and we're headed to that last resort."
He said one good sign so far is that while new case numbers are now approaching the numbers seen in the spring surge, hospitalization rates have yet to rise as rapidly - and he said that Bostonians brought Covid-19 rates down once before and they can do it again.
But with data showing workplaces and indoor gatherings as major spreader spots, he pleaded with people to avoid parties - and to do that doubly for Thanksgiving, which he urged people to spend only with their immediate households.
ISD is working on how to enforce 10-person max. indoor gathering, he said. The city doesn't want to do that, but people, landlords will get fined if numbers keep going up. Covid is a deadly matter, creates strains on hospitals and local economies - look at long food lines in other cities, he said.
"This is real, this isn't something made up," he said. Yes, it's hard, being human means wanting to get together, but we're talking death, economic devastation otherwise if we don't get this under control, he said.