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Walsh: Walk on the beach, but no playing volleyball this weekend

COVID-19 Media Availability 5/21/20

Mayor Walsh said today he has "major concerns" about beaches reopening this weekend and urged people who go to stay away from other people.

"Don't be hangin' on the beach," and don't play volleyball, he said, expressing concern that there's still plenty of Covid-19 out there to infect the roughly 90% of Bostonians who have yet to contract it.

At a press conference at City Hall, Walsh also urged Bostonians to decorate their homes this Memorial Day weekend to honor veterans, in lieu of the Boston Common flag display that had to be canceled due to Covid-19 concerns.

Walsh added that city officials are still working on a plan and a set of recommendations for large employers once office buildings open June 1. He said he does not know if the city will seek to enforce occupancy levels at less than the 25% of normal set by the state, but said that regardless, he is encouraging employers who can to keep letting workers work from home - especially with the T not planning major increases in service for at least the next several weeks.

The city has also begun trying to help small employers find masks and other protective equipment and supplies they'll need to keep their employees safe if they re-open, he said.

Walsh said the city and state have begun to look at the future of the Boston Hope field hospital at the South Boston Convention Center, which continues to get patients from nearby Boston hospitals, even if fewer than before. He said that yesterday, it had 54 patients convalescing from the virus.

He added that, for the foreseeable future, Boston will continue to run extra centers for homeless residents, 10 of whom have died from the virus, he said.

Walsh said BPS is planning a televised June 13 celebration for 2020 graduates of Boston high schools. He told seniors that they may not realize it yet, but their experience with the pandemic and shutdown is making them stronger people and better leaders for the future. And as the first class with a "virtual" graduation, well, that's something they can put on their diplomas, he said.

Walsh said that even as things re-open, the city will continue to help residents in need. He said the Greater Boston Food Bank reported it had served 69% more people in April than a year ago, and that even as things get better, there will still be people who need a helping hand.

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Southie will be PACKED tomorrow.

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