6.5 min readBy Published On: November 5th, 2020Categories: News0 Comments on Recap of Mayor Walsh’s Press Briefing from 11/4

Please see below for updates from Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s press briefing on Wednesday, November 4, 2020.

Election updates:

  • The Mayor restated the City of Boston’s commitment to free, fair, and safe elections. He said we turned the challenge of making voting COVID-safe into an opportunity to expand voting access, and the voters in Boston responded.

  • With all 255 precincts reporting, a total of 274,344 ballots have been counted, a turnout of 63.51% of Boston’s registered voters so far. That number includes Early Voting, in person voting on Election Day, and a large number of mail-in ballots. But, we continue to count mail-in ballots postmarked by yesterday (Tuesday), which will be arriving through Friday. Results cannot be made official until after the deadline for overseas military and absentee ballots to arrive, which is November 13. So, these are not final numbers.

  • The Mayor thanked the Elections Department staff, poll workers, and volunteers who made this extraordinary election possible, helped the people of Boston make their voices heard during a pandemic, and continue doing the work of democracy, as we make sure every vote is counted.

  • The Mayor pointed out that this is the situation in states and municipalities across the country. Many jurisdictions are still counting ballots, and the presidential election is very close in some of those states.

  • He urged everyone to be patient and respect this democratic process, respect the fact that people took the time and care to vote, and let the election workers do their jobs and count those votes.

  • He said that no one should be calling for the count to stop, or talking about fraud, when election workers are trying to do their job. It’s the right of the American people to make their choice and we need to make sure every single vote is counted.

  • The Mayor also acknowledged that uncertainty has many people anxious, and some are looking for opportunities to speak out. He asked those inclined to do so peacefully and constructively, holding true to our values and setting a good example for the nation.

  • The Mayor celebrated the fact that our city and country came together to vote in high numbers, under difficult circumstances. He thanked everyone who cast a ballot, helped and encouraged neighbors to vote, or volunteered for a candidate.

  • He took note of the enthusiasm at the polls yesterday, and said it made him proud to be an American and a Bostonian.

COVID-19 case numbers:

  • On Wednesday in Massachusetts, the state reported 1,629 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 158,937. There were 27 new deaths, for a total of 9,836.

  • On Wednesday in Boston we added 120 new cases, for a total of 21,395. There were 3 new deaths, bringing the total to 874.

  • The Mayor added a note about Boston’s case and death totals. Both metrics added one-time increases since last week, after a data review by analysts at the Boston Public Health Commission. These increases were from cases and deaths spread out over the last six months.

  • For the week ending on Friday, October 30, Boston had more people get tested than the week before, and fewer people test positive. That resulted in a positive test rate of 7.2%, down from a high of 8.0% the week before.

  • The Mayor thanked everyone who helped raise awareness about the need to get tested in light of our new “Get the Test Boston” campaign, but added that it’s too soon to say we’ve stopped the upward trend in cases.

  • Our numbers continue to be higher than what we need them to be, he said, and hospitals have been seeing more activity. Those are realities we have to address.

  • The Mayor urged everyone to get tested and noted that the City’s mobile sites offer testing free of charge and regardless of symptoms. Find those sites and more than 30 others at boston.gov or by calling 3-1-1.

Implementing new State advisories:

  • The Mayor said that we have to increase our collective vigilance to turn these numbers around, and that this week the state announced a set of targeted measures to help us do that. They go into effect this Friday, November 6, and include:

    • A Stay-at-Home advisory for the hours between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. There are exceptions for going to work, running critical errands like groceries or medications, accessing health care, or going or a walk.

    • A requirement for businesses to close in-person services at 9:30 p.m., including restaurants, liquor stores, gyms, and both indoor and outdoor events.

    • An updated order requiring you to wear a face covering in all public places, even if you are able to maintain six feet of distance from others.

    • Indoor gatherings at your home are limited to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings to 25 people. The limits on events in public spaces and event venues remain in place — which in Boston has been 25 people indoors and 50 people outdoors.

  • For more details go to boston.gov/reopening or mass.gov/reopening.

  • The Mayor said the City supports these new measures and urges everyone to follow them. They are in line with the cautious approach we’ve been taking in Boston, and they respond to the case trend that we’ve seen over several weeks now.

  • He noted that they are also in line with conversations that mayors from around Greater Boston have been having. All of our communities have been experiencing the uptick in cases. But if we respond as individual cities, we are less effective, and place uneven burdens on small businesses. The Mayor thanked his fellow mayors for the ongoing conversation and thanked the Governor and State for responding to those concerns.

  • The Mayor acknowledged people’s fatigue with taking precautions as well as the way these steps have become politicized. He urged people to understand that they are a public health response aimed at getting our COVID numbers back under control and keeping people out of the hospital. The only way to get our economy back up and running and bring our community events back to life is by taking the precautions, stopping the spread of the virus, and turning this trend around.

Supporting restaurants and small businesses:

  • The Mayor acknowledged that the new advisories continue to place burdens on small businesses, and pledged to continue supporting them whatever ways we can. One of the first things we did in the spring, he said, was to put in place technical support for restaurants and stores, to help them operate takeout and delivery. Those opportunities are still available.

  • In addition, the City continues to offer reopening grants for PPE, spacing materials, cleaning materials, and more, and continues to listen to any concerns that small businesses may have. Visit boston.gov/reopening or reach out to our Office of Small Business to learn more.

  • The Mayor encouraged everyone to look for ways to safely support restaurants and small businesses.

The Mayor concluded with the following comments:

“As a city, we will continue to support everyone impacted by this virus in its health impact, its economic impact, and its social impact. I want our seniors to know we are reaching out to you and we are here for you. I want our immigrant communities to know we are reaching out and we are here for you. I want our communities of color to know that we understand the impact this virus is having, we are tackling those inequities, and we are here for you. I want our families with school children to know that we understand how hard remote learning is on kids and families, and we are here for you. Boston is a city where we listen to each other and we show up for each other. That’s what we need to focus on this week. Whatever happens in the election, we have to take care of each other and take care of our city.”

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