Marty Walsh: Businesses ignoring coronavirus order will be ‘reminded’ to close

Non-essential businesses in Boston that ignore Gov. Charlie Baker’s emergency order and continue to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic will be “reminded” to close, Mayor Martin Walsh said in an interview with WGBH Tuesday morning, hours before the order goes into effect.

“We’re asking people, out of respect for one another, to have some common sense here, to pay attention and follow this order,” Walsh said, after being asked if Boston Police would help enforce the order if necessary. “If there are businesses that should be closed, we’re going to remind them that they need to be closed. And hopefully, people understand that and do the right thing.”

Baker ordered the closure of non-essential businesses on Monday, after the number of coronavirus deaths in the state doubled overnight.

Pushing the issue further, Walsh said that he would not reopen the economy next week even if he was ordered to by the White House, after President Trump told reporters at a briefing Monday that he wants to reopen the country for business in weeks, not months.

“We’re not going to do that, number one, because we’re not really in a place where we can,” Walsh said. “By next week, the president is going to realize that that we’re nowhere near reopening our economy the way that it was.”

Walsh also told WGBH that the consulting firm the city recently hired, run by retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal, will help them integrate all of their response plans, communicate effectively with residents and coordinate with agencies for the next two months. Walsh said this will be especially important when it comes to getting food and other resources to the city’s poorest and most vulnerable communities.

“What they’re basically going to do is help us and walk us through this,” Walsh said. “They’re making sure that our plans are in proper place.”

On Monday, Walsh posted on Twitter that the city is using its free text service to provide updates and information on the coronavirus in multiple languages.

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