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Boston sets voluntary nighttime curfew, will shut basketball, hockey and tennis courts

Boston coronavirus numbers

Boston coronavirus numbers as of 4/5.

Mayor Walsh today announced a voluntary curfew after 9 p.m. and said everybody who goes outside should wear a mask, but that people who are particularly at risk - with diabetes, asthma and heart conditions or being over 65 - shouldn't go outside at all for the next few weeks, except for medical visits or trips to the store for essentials.

Walsh said that the city had 259 new Covid-19 cases over the past 24 hours, up to 1,877 total cases, and that 27% of the city's total Covid-19 cases have come in the past 48 hours.

"It's not normal for me to get up here as mayor and scare the people of Boston," but rapidly escalating Covid-19 numbers just over the past two days mean now is no time for laxity, he said at a press conference outside City Hall.

"Lives are literally at stake," he said, adding he doesn't want to look back in a couple of weeks "thinking we could have done more."

Instead of queuing up outside restaurants for food after 9 p.m., he said, people should rely on delivery. "We have been seeing too many unnecessary trips in the evenings and social distancing problems as people order and wait for their take-out at restaurants," he said.

He added that the curfew would run until 6 am., so that seniors can continue to go to local supermarkets for food.

Walsh said that because people were continuing to do stuff like untying basketball hoops, he was forced to order parks workers to block playing courts altogether. "In some cases it's astonishing," what people have been doing, he said, citing "hundreds of people not practicing social distancing" at the Arnold Arboretum and Castle Island yesterday.

He urged residents to call or connect to 311 if they see people continuing to congregate in city parks.

And he said churches should remain shut on Easter Sunday.

"Absolutely under no circumstance should any house of worship be open next Sunday at all," because the worst thing that could happen would be to put large numbers of people in close quarters. We don't need people congregating, he said: "We need prayers."

He added that the 1,000-bed field hospital at the South Boston convention center should be ready later this week if needed to handle overflow patients who still need care if not as intensive as they might get in a hospital - and that because the new beds and support areas only take up roughly two-thirds of the space in the convention center, there's still room for expansion if needed. Half the beds will before homeless people, the other half for general hospital patients ready for "step-down" care.

Walsh also announced that from now on, City Hall will only be open on Tuesdays and Fridays, and that all people entering will be subject to Covid-19 screening, including a temperature check. Appointments will also still be required to enter the building.

Walsh did not wear a face mask as he spoke, but said he would put one on immediately after he was finished - one made by Councilor Annissa Essaibi-George, who has helped organize an effort to sew masks for hospital workers.

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Comments

Pickup basketball and scratch tickets seem to be unconquerable. Who knew such inconsequential things mean so deeply much to people that they are willing to take such a risk? In my East Boston neighborhood people are congregating and socializing over scratch tickets inside and outside convenience stores like they haven't got a care in the world. The governor really needs to suspend the lottery for the time being.

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Voting closed 42

A lot of people still think it's no worse than the flu (if even that bad) and/or that they won't get it for a variety of foolish reasons.

Also, if you're playing scratch tickets your understanding of odds is already pretty compromised.

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Voting closed 115

Buying scratch tickets, especially now, is pretty dumb. But at least they have a chance. Marty’s idea of “prayer” has zero chance.

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Is smugness a preexisting condition?

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Voting closed 41

n/t

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Some attitudes fit rather well with social distancing.

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Those who say that people buying lottery tickets are stupid or irrational are perhaps poor scholars of human nature: the expected financial return for ten dollars spent on lottery tickets is a lot higher than the expected financial return on the same ten dollars spent on a movie ticket or at Starbucks, after all. Perhaps the people buying lottery tickets are in fact entirely rational value maximizers, but the value they are maximizing is something other than financial return.

The entire field of behavioral economics came into being because classical economics, upon noticing that people didn't act in accord with classical economists' expectations around rational value maximization, didn't come to the scientifically obvious conclusion (the model must be wrong and needs to be adjusted) but instead decided that people were irrational or stupid.

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Have you ever SEEN these compulsive lottery scratchers in convenience stores? Immediately going back for more in an endless loop? I'd love to know further about exactly what value it is they are maximizing. Spoken as a layman, it can't be a healthy one. And it most assuredly can't be an altruistic one of voluntarily paying a tax to the state.

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It’s extreme risk-seeking behavior and it is irrational.

Why would the classical economic model be wrong and need adjustment? The goal wasn’t to explain or justify irrational human behavior, it was to explain what a Rational Economic Man is expected to do.

The finding was that humans have behavioral biases that cause them do take actions that do not optimize expected utility. These biases have been thoroughly studied and explained. The knowledge of their existence does not make the purchase of lottery tickets any more rational.

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The finding was that humans have behavioral biases that cause them do take actions that do not optimize expected utility.

No, the finding was that economists couldn't see past the idea that "utility" might mean something other than "maximal financial return." As soon as you allow for convex and concave risk preference curves, the behavior becomes entirely explainable and entirely rational.

The purchase of lottery tickets is no more or less rational than the purchase of movie tickets.

The purchase of lottery tickets appears to be irrational if you accept the premise that "value" equates to "financial return".

Which, as is transparently obvious, is not the case -- lottery ticket purchasers are buying something other than financial return, just as movie ticket purchasers are.

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Masshole adults spend ~$1000/yr on lottery. That's $40/week, and many people play rarely or never. So, let's consider folks who spend the average -- $40/week.

Almost nobody spends $40/week at the movies. Nationally, movie theaters are $12.6 billion/yr in America. That's $40/person/year -- under $1/person/week.

Almost nobody spends $40/week at Starbucks ($8/day). In 2019, Starbucks' revenue amounted to approximately 26.51 billion U.S. dollars, and they've got 40% market share. That's $200/person/year -- under $4/person/week.

Lottery isn't comparable to coffee or movies, because the average revenue per person is 10x to 40x higher. And yet it's played by people who have substantially less average income (or income after housing costs) than the median Masshole.

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Are there huge crowds out at night? Aren't the playgrounds and courts already off limits and people are cutting off the zip ties or breaking the locks? Is there some difference from where we are already at?

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If fewer people are out after 9 - after all, no bars or restaurants are open - that makes it a better, more social distancey, time to be out. Marty is just being an idiot. Voluntarily.

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And I plan to continue to do so for the reasons you spell out.

Since my kid was born and we settled into that new reality, the vast majority of my runs have been after 9 PM, with some daytime running when he is in school and I'm playing hooky from work. Since the former is on hold, I've resigned myself to night running for the duration. Last week, the stars aligned and I got a chance to run in the morning. I passed more runners on that 3.5 mile run (4) than I did people total on my 5.5 mile run tonight.

To be fair to Walsh, this is something that other places have instituted, but it just doesn't make any sense.

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Hey tough guy, way to stick it to people who are immuno-compromised! smh

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That going out before 9 PM means I am interacting with more people.

Also, I didn't see where Walsh carved out an exemption for the immuno-compromised.

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Rules don't apply to you.

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I'll go out when it is more crowded, breathing heavier, since that will help matters.

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Just yesterday there were a dozen or so teens playing soccer in JP by English high. Obviously none of them were worried about getting in any sort of trouble. Maybe that needs to change.

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Get off my lawn!!!

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... for people with asthma. Lack of exercise is excellent for the heart. Diabetics will surely do great as well.

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you can still take a walk, just someplace that is not as scenic as a park where many people will get the same idea to do the same thing at thw same time

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People can still find ways to do these things but be safe.

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Like go for a run at night?

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Are you really complaining? My niece is 8 months pregnant and inserting tubes down peoples throats so they can breathe. Stop pouting. Really. I think the mayor is trying his best to keep everyone happy without putting strict orders in place.

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What, exactly, is it about the hours of 6AM to 9PM such that people going outside only during that time reduces risk to anybody?

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Absolutely nothing.

What we're seeing here is a government exercise in control, rationalized and sold to the public as a response to this virus.

As people get used to the latest increase in this authoritarian nonsense, each new step will be increasingly nonsensical and harder to actually explain (if actually viewed as a response to an infectious agent), yet most people are not going to stop to evaluate things rationally. They already accepted the previous step, so the next one is easier.

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In a crisis I still imagine people should act rationally.

Flailing randomly and instituting nonsensical policies is the opposite of leadership. If this is the best the mayor can do, we deserve a better mayor.

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Check @stacos on twitter and you'll see people are still partying in groups at night. That's not helping contain the spread. Asking people to stop getting together to party at night like they're used to makes sense to me.

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Cases are increasing exactly like they were expected to, nothing about it is surprising.

Also not shocking is that some people are not physically distancing, whether out of loneliness, not caring, etc.

Not sure how telling people to stay home after 9 helps. Doesn’t that just mean more people out at the same time? How many were out late at night?

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Nothing, really. That's what this will accomplish.

People won't stay locked up. They can't handle it. Kids in particular -- they need to be outside and playing. Most people cannot stay away from each other, and isolation is known to have many deleterious effects, including but not limited to depression. Most people I talk to here (virtually) are showing signs of depression.

En masse, you cannot have a lockdown for more than a couple of weeks, because people just won't obey and all it takes is a few interactions to make it pointless. Do you even think the BPD is ruthless and efficient enough to keep ALL people home?

I've seen a lot of criticism and hysteria regarding what was done in Sweden, and personally I thought it was suicidal myself, but now I'm coming around to the idea that it's much more sustainable than what we're trying to do here in the States. They're trying to keep the most vulnerable home and letting younger people get it. We're more or less got the same results -- no real difference between letting people outside versus telling them to stay in and them ignoring it and going outside anyway.

I think a lot of governances are in the bargaining/denial stage. I am still not convinced that these heavy handed measures are going to have any real difference on the final death tolls. You can't shut down for months because people won't obey, and if the psychological/economic damage is bad enough they're going to start rioting. That might actually cause a higher death toll than COVID. Or the lockdown ends. Either way, when people go back outside, people will die at the same rate everyone else did (which is likely lower than what the breathless media are trying to push), or at the very least the same vulnerable populations will get hit. The real differentiator for us in the States will likely be population density (that's one reason why NYC was always going to be vulnerable to this and why de Blasio and Cuomo's piddling around was so damaging. and while there are similarities we are nowhere near as dense as NYC).

Spooking the populace with "but Italy" is meaningless. The USA isn't Italy. Even if we were, at some point people are just not going to care. Italy can't even get its own people to stay inside -- so what makes anyone think anywhere else is going to do better?

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Although you make several valid points, what's missing from your analysis is the notion of flattening the curve.

100,000 cases, of whom 10,000 need to be hospitalized, of whom 1,000 need to be in an ICU bed on a ventilator for 2 weeks is a very different story spread over a two month period than it is with the same number of cases spread over a two week period, if you have only 500 ICU beds and ventilators.

Locking things down hard for a short period of time during the runup to the peak makes all the difference in the world.

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But young people are in icu and dying too.

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What good is a voluntary policy? When has that ever worked??

Bite the bullet now and shut down the city instead of changing the rules every few days. If stricter rules where in place two weeks ago we could already be on the down slide. Every week that goes by with "voluntary" restrictions probably adds a month of pain.

This is death by a thousand paper cuts.

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...free to smoke all around us.

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What does that even mean? Stay away from smokers too

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... stay away from everyone else. Or just not smoke.

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In a perfect world yes.

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leading the mayor to issue these new recommendations? Could he maybe share with us why the guidance is changing?

"everybody who goes outside should wear a mask, but that people who are particularly at risk - with diabetes, asthma and heart conditions or being over 65 - shouldn't go outside at all for the next few weeks, except for medical visits or trips to the store for essentials."

Or what is happening after 9 pm that should not be happening? What are the problems these solutions are seeking to fix? I understand the mayor is frustrated but he risks losing all credibility issuing statements like this without solid scientific rationale.

Not to mention the more public spaces close, the higher the density will be in those that remain open. It makes no sense.

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Get over your hatred of Mahty and listen. The cases in Massachusetts are expected to peak in the next two weeks and are more than likely to exceed our hospitals capacity to treat. This means we’re in the getting infected period and need to try to minimize even further than what most of us already have. The death rate has been low so far because they are able to treat everyone that has come in. We won’t be there in the next two weeks - the hospitals are going to have to make decisions on who lives and dies literally, which is horrific. The life you save in 2 weeks might be your own. The models they’re relying on predicted the peaks in Italy and NYC.

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If we're trying to minimize opportunities for contagion, which makes more sense?

  1. Everyone go outside at the same time of day
  2. Everyone go outside at different times of day

If you can't explain the reason for the night-time curfew, quit defending it.

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I don't see how the time of day has any effect on how likely you are to transmit or receive the virus.

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I agree. Weird

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Fewer vampire attacks though, that's a plus.

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A curfew is when someone orders you to be indoors at certain times (or home no later than a given time). If you're fifteen and your parents say "you have to be home by nine o'clock," that's a curfew. If you're fifty and decide "I should be home by nine o'clock every night," it's not a curfew, because nobody is going to enforce it, or even say "Vicki. You promised you'd be home earlier than this. What's up?"

If he's just giving advice, it would be better to tell people not to all go outside at the same time. If I want to avoid running into my neighbor on the stairs, us both trying to be home by 9:00 isn't going to help. The more we can space our walks and bike rides for exercise and mental health, the better. That's not just being at least two meters away from each other--not being in the same place at the same time helps.

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He's trying to make it clear how serious this is without putting the police in a situation where they need to confront more people than they otherwise would.

Since supermarkets and other "essential" businesses are closed overnight, that's one less reason to be out of the house overnight. Plenty of people still need to get to their essential jobs so making the curfur mandatory would just bog down the police who would need to verify if people are heading to/from work or just outside for other reasons.

I don't envy Walsh and I don't know what he can be doing better, all told. He has to balance the health of the general public with the health of municipal workers and the limits of his legal authority.

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This is just like his wishy-washy "solution" to the space saver problem because how dare he actually take a fucking stand on anything. O noes, some asshole from Southie might have to change the way they've been doing things since 1963.

Either call a curfew or don't, but don't half-ass it with terms like "voluntary."

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Hate to break it to you but the 1963 assholes from Southie aren’t really around anymore. A handful maybe. Still lots of space savers in the winter snow tho. Looks like a new crowd is keeping it going.

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Hate to break it to you but the 1963 assholes from Southie aren’t really around anymore. A handful maybe. Still lots of space savers in the winter snow tho. Looks like a new crowd is keeping it going.

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Charlie Baker questioned whether he had the legal authority to issue a mandatory stay at home order. So I think rather than get involved in a civil liberties issue, they are trying to increase the pressure to "voluntarily" stay at home.

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The recommendation only changed Friday, that masks are helpful. The claim before that was they were not needed, even inside crowded stores. This was purposefully done because of the shortage of masks, but it was a misinformation campaign and is causing the problems we are seeing now. Most people certainly don't understand that keeping a minimum distance when outside is not enough...hard to blame people when the messaging was the opposite 2 days ago and the whole thing was minimized for months.

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Outside of active communal recreations where people are in close contact and breathing heavily - e.g. Basketball, street hockey, soccer, rugby, touch or tackle football -- being outside is just about ideal

The direct blasts of aerosol droplets emitted from an infected fellow player have a limited range of a couple of arms lengths. Hence Social Distancing.

However --The recent MIT study on coughing and sneezing showed that the large and small aerosol droplets carrying the virus are accompanied by an invisible warm & moist cloud of air which allows essentially un-packaged submicron-scale SARS-COV-2 virions to float around in the air for a while.

The actual time that such an infectious cloud hangs around depends on the temperature of the surrounding air [buoyancy] and the air currents. Indoors in a corner of an unairconditioned garage or similar room with still air -- the virions might still be there for the taking or breathing for many minutes. In a highly conditioned space with a large air flow and plenty of external make-up air the virions might be cleared out in seconds. Outdoors in any kind of breeze the only people with a chance at your virions are those whose faces are almost at kissing distance. Such close up action occurs under a basket or by a hockey net or when someone is closely guarding someone on a football field, etc.

The real and hidden transmitter of the virus by infected but asymptomatic people is through normal breathing and speaking -- where there might be much less of the aerosol droplets but still plenty of the infected warm moist cloud. Once again indoors in still air is near ideal for transmission. On the other hand outdoors with stiff breeze blowing on the shoreline or jogging about Pleasant Bay or Jamaica Pond is not very favorable to the cloud being persistent.

Of course there is always the mechanism of transmission via contact with infected surfaces. You pick-up individual virions or moist films containing virions with your hands and then transfer them to your sensitive mucus membranes of your mouth, nose or eyes by wiping the sweat from your brow or moving your hair away from your eyes.

So the bottom line -- go outdoors, walk, run, rock-climb, take pictures, sit or even talk on your celphone -- just make sure that there is a breeze and keep out of reach of the other people -- you'll be much better off than standing six feet apart in the deli line at the Supermarket.

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"aerosol droplets carrying the virus are accompanied by an invisible warm & moist cloud of air"

THIS explanation makes sense to me, thank you!

What makes me nervous, living in an apartment, is walking down several flights of stairs / taking the elevator... you don't know who has just walked down/up several flights of stairs that may be unknowingly infected.

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Minneapolis has opened 10 miles of road space to pedestrians for social distancing needs.

*Apparently its 18 miles now. https://twitter.com/ban_SUVs/status/1246553864914042880

https://www.minneapolisparks.org/activities__events/road_closures/

  • Parkway roads will be dedicated to two-way pedestrian traffic; cyclists are not allowed on parkways.
  • Walking paths will be dedicated to two-way pedestrian traffic.
  • Bike paths will remain bike paths in their current direction, if applicable.
  • Emergency vehicles will be allowed on closed sections of parkways and streets at all times.
  • Service, delivery and sanitation vehicles will be allowed on closed sections of parkways and streets as part of their regular operations. Vehicle drivers will be required to move and replace barricades.
  • Access to residential buildings and residential parking facilities on closed sections of parkways and streets will be maintained.

Oh gee look at that, they restricted even cyclists in favor of pedestrian usage of parkways, emergency/delivery/sanitation access is addressed and spoke about two way pedestrian traffic. Does that address the complaints of the usual crowd opposed to measures like this?

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Marty “car guy” Walsh is choosing cars over people yet again. It’s very easy to save people from being killed by virus or criminal drivers but Marty won’t do it.

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So if the curfew was mandatory, do we have enough police to enforce it? I imagine roving bands of libertarian-types trying to prove some point, wannabe anarchists and trustafarians hoping to force a standoff with BPD not to mention snotty teenagers who think its cool to try and dodge the cops, then do we need the National Guard mobilized? How much force is appropriate to round these folks up? A militarily enforced curfew is a WHOLE NUTHA LEVEL. Not a good idea to turn this into a test of wills that will end in confrontation and legal challenges, better to make it voluntary, allow the police to "strongly suggest" people get indoors after 9 and good old fashioned social pressure to do its thing.

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The National Guard was activated by the governor weeks ago. They’re already out there building field hospitals, doing massive testing at nursing homes and long term care facilities throughout the state and manning call centers (my closest friend is one of them and I’m house/pet sitting for him for the next 2-4 weeks or longer). They have other things to do than making sure the city of Boston is asleep by 9 so I wouldn’t worry too much about the military intervening at 9pm.

I think the idea is that Marty wants to convey to people that this is *serious* and people need to start treating it that way. I have been outside for a couple of runs in the city and the number of people still hanging out in large groups is alarming. The sooner people cooperate the less painful this will be for all of us.

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In the email I got from the City of Boston, if you're an essential worker (healthcare, fire, police, EMS, etc), you are exempted. If you really and truly need to be somewhere and you're not home at 9 on the dot, I would think there would be no worry (e.g. you had to go to the pharmacy at 9:15pm to get a prescription; you work at South Shore Hospital, you get out at 8:30 and live in Dorchester); otherwise, the Mayor is implying that if you don't have to be out there, even after the curfew, stay home.

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if you don't have to be out there, stay home.

Agreed, but isn't that every bit as true during the day as it is at night?

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It is...thus I corrected my post. Thanks!

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Whether this is for covid spread prevention (in which it makes less than zero sense), or for public safety. Perhaps Mahty expects a crime wave.

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As one who has to be out on the street at midnight, I am decidedly less safe on a deserted street with only a few drunk / drugged / crazy people around than I would be with a few more people out there. Last night was downright creepy and, for the first time in decades, I actually felt at risk on the street.

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So you imagine that in a free country, people aren't going to tolerate being told en masse that they're not even allowed outdoors on foot anymore, and some might go out to exercise their rights, help set up a test case for a lawsuit, or simply to spite the "authorities."

You probably don't have to worry of course as the libertarian types gave up on your state and are mostly in New Hampshire now.

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60’degrees and sunny tomorrow and Tuesday. Good luck with that social distancing and wearing masks outside.

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I wonder if the curfew is in response to young people being out in groups at night. In my neighborhood, I observed a bunch of high school aged kids all hanging out by the mini mart after dinner. I thought it was very unwise of them since they clearly didn't need to be there and they were definitely NOT social distancing.

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Unless Marty is a believer in the miasma theory of coronavirus, this is counterproductive nonsense. People may be going out late at night to get needed exercise when they're more likely to be alone, and now they're going to go out during the day when they're not. This would be like someone mandating that because too many people go out during rush hour (6am-10am), we're going to mandate rush hour only be "allowed" 8am-9am. Now four times as many people are out then. Brilliant.

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Meanwhile Paris does pretty much the opposite, and says "If you want to go outside to exercise, do it at night when fewer other people are out." To me that seems more grounded in scientific fact than Boston's "voluntary curfew."

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1266039/France-coronavirus-Paris-lo...

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