7 min readBy Published On: January 7th, 2021Categories: News0 Comments

Please see below for updates from Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s press briefing on Tuesday, January 7, 2021.

Comments on Wednesday’s events at the United States Capitol:

The Mayor opened his press conference with this reflection:

“Before I begin, I want to address what happened yesterday. It was a dark day for our democracy. We watched in horror as mobs stormed Capitol Hill, leaving a trail of chaos and destruction. This was not a protest. It was an act of insurrection. While rioters were breaking windows, Congress was carrying out one of most sacred actions of our democracy: certifying the election results. To witness this type of violence and aggression in response to fair and legitimate election results is sickening.

But in many ways, it was not unexpected. Over the past four years, we have seen this anger and hatred heading towards a boiling point. As President-elect Biden said, the events on Capitol Hill showed that the words of a President do matter. We saw President Trump continue to use his words to fan the flames of this unrest — behavior he has incited through lies and disinformation. And he has proven, once again, to be incapable of the leadership and responsibilities of the Office of the President of the United States.

The violence needs to stop. Many people were hurt. Four people lost their lives. Every act of violence sends ripples of hatred and trauma through the community — whether it’s in our nation’s capital, or on our streets.

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by yesterday’s events: the elected officials and staff who feared for their lives; the law enforcement and first responders who worked to resolve the situation as quickly and peacefully as possible; the brave reporters who were on the scene and keeping us informed.

In Boston, we stand united in denouncing this violence. And we are asking everyone to choose peace over violence. We must be better than this.

Yesterday’s violence represented an awful start to the new year. But 2021 can still be a time for healing. It can still be a time for hope. We will have a new administration in less than two weeks — one that is committed to a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. More and more people are getting vaccinated. Every day, the light at the end of the tunnel grows brighter. In Boston, we continue to look out for every resident, working to ensure that every Bostonian has food on their table, a roof over their head, and resources to keep their businesses afloat.

We are laser focused on our ongoing work to build up equity, eliminate disparities, and root out systemic racism once and for all. We have a lot of work, and healing, to do — in Boston and across our nation. We must protect our democracy. We must choose unity over division. We must build bridges, not tear them down. That is how we will get through these difficult times together, and be stronger in the outcome.”

COVID-19 cases and testing data:

  • The Commonwealth of Massachusetts yesterday reported 6,419 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 386,052 cases. The state reported 99 new deaths, for a total of 12,563 people who have passed away due to COVID-19.

  • The City of Boston today reported 751 new cases, for a total of 43,589 cases. The City reported 3 new deaths, bringing the total to 1,033.

  • The Mayor said that Boston’s case numbers are concerning. The number of new cases reported yesterday was one of the highest one-day numbers we’ve seen since the Spring.

  • Our hospital numbers are higher than we’d like. 93% of adult non-surge ICU beds are occupied, which is the highest we’ve seen since May.

  • The Mayor said that his team is in constant contact with local hospitals to make sure they are supported, and urged everyone to do their part. Wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands, and avoiding gatherings, and getting tested remain absolutely essential for preventing the spread.

Update on testing:

  • The Mayor continued to encourage everyone to get tested, especially if you traveled over the holidays, if you think you may have been exposed, or if you haven’t been tested in a while. He encouraged people to make it their New Year’s Resolution to get tested.

  • There are over 30 testing sites in the City of Boston. That includes three mobile sites which are free and open to all, regardless of symptoms. This week they are in Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, and Hyde Park. Today, the Harvard St. test site at Prince Hall in Dorchester is open as well. For more info visit Boston.gov or call 3-1-1.

Reminder about extending Boston’s temporary pause on reopening:

  • On Tuesday of this week, the Mayor announced that he would extend the pause on Phase 3 of reopening for at least another 3 weeks, until January 27.

  • This is an effort to slow the spread to protect hospital capacity and avoid a more severe shutdown later on. This is not about targeting specific sectors as the cause of viral spread, but instead, an effort to reduce overall activity happening outside people’s homes.

  • Boston’s Office of Economic Development has been reaching out to different sectors to let them know about the extensions and answer any questions.

  • To find a complete list of industries and activities that will remain closed, and those that are allowed to stay open, visit Boston.gov/Reopening.

  • In another three weeks, the City will re-evaluate the situation. If the metrics have moved in the right direction, the Mayor said, we’ll lift these restrictions. If the metrics get worse, we’ll have to put in place more restrictions. The Mayor said that he is hoping that we will be able to lift these restrictions, but we are taking a cautious approach, and doing what’s right for Boston.

An update on the Mayor’s legislative priorities:

  • This week, the Massachusetts Legislature finished their legislative session.The Mayor thanked the Boston delegation in the House and Senate, and everyone who worked to get these bills passed.

  • He said: “This past year, especially, has been difficult. But despite setbacks, this important work moved forward. Last night, despite the chaos, we saw Congress come back together and finish their session. Doing people’s work is a solemn responsibility. It’s one we, as elected officials, take seriously. In Boston, and Massachusetts, we do the same. We share a commitment to doing the work the people elected us to do, and help improve the lives of everyone.”

  • In my 2019 State of the City, at the start of the 2019-2020 Legislation Session, I outlined the City of Boston’s legislative priorities. We proposed an ambitious agenda to address the major challenges facing our city and state.

  • That included legislation to: create more affordable housing; keep tenants in their homes; expand the middle class; protect our environment; and invest in education for all our students. I am proud to say we achieved many of our goals, working alongside our partners.

  • Some of the Mayor’s legislative priorities accomplished include:

    • The Student Opportunity Act, which will direct much-needed new resources to districts, like Boston, that educate the highest needs students in the Commonwealth.

  • Home Rule Petition on Inclusionary Development and Linkage fees, which will leverage Boston’s growth to create more opportunities for housing and job training for residents.

  • Housing protections, including protections for tenants facing eviction.

  • Supports for small businesses, including a cap on third party delivery fees to help restaurants during these tough times.

  • Transportation investments, including increased fees on transportation network companies, to help make rideshares part of a sustainable and equitable system.

  • Increase of the State CPA match, which will raise an estimated $36 million in more revenue for the City, which will go towards affordable housing and historic preservation.

  • A new Boston Fire Cadet Program, which will create a cadet program within the Boston Fire Department in an effort to help diversify our force.

  • The Mayor closed with this reflection: “We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish, despite a challenging time. And again, I want to thank our partners on Beacon Hill for their work in getting these bills passed during this session. We are looking forward to filing another ambitious legislation for the 2021-2022 Legislative Session — and to keep moving our City, and our shared priorities, forward.”

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