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Reopening does not mean back to normal

Mayor Martin Walsh

Mayor Martin Walsh gave the following statement in reaction to Gov. Charlie Baker’s Monday announcement of his four-phase plan to reopen Massachusetts businesses and places of public accommodation.

The framework released today can serve as a guide for a cautious, phased-in approach to reopening the economy, driven by clear public health criteria and safety guidelines that will keep our residents and workers healthy, and the commonwealth moving in the right direction.

What needs to be made clear is that reopening does not mean back to normal, and normal is not what we should be striving for. It means bringing safety and caution into our economy and community life. It means continuing to meet the needs of our families, seniors, front-line workers and vulnerable people, because reopening the economy does not erase the hurt that continues to be felt by so many in our city who have been impacted by this crisis. It means working collectively, for however long it may take, to recover the health and strength of our city and its people.

We must stay focused on what got us this far: physical distancing, covering our faces when out in public, washing our hands and cleaning surfaces. We should continue to limit trips outside the home, especially for people over 65 or with underlying health conditions. Beginning to reopen the economy does not mean the risk of contracting the virus is gone. The fastest and most sustainable way out of this situation is the healthy way, and we simply can’t afford unnecessary setbacks.

The city of Boston plays a unique role in the commonwealth, as the capital city, economic engine and hub of social services. Since the beginning, we have worked to make this a broad and inclusive conversation with a focus on equity, understanding the disproportionate health and economic impacts this pandemic has had on some of our residents. We will continue to work in collaboration with the state as this plan unfolds, and in Boston, we will always make decisions that are based on data and the needs of our diverse residents and workers.