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Mayor Walsh Says Boston Has 'No Intention Of Shutting Down Restaurants'

BOSTON (CBS) - Despite a rise in coronavirus cases in Boston over the last month, Mayor Marty Walsh shot down the notion that the city had any intentions of closing restaurants on Wednesday.

"We have no, no, no intention on shutting down restaurants in the city of Boston as of right now," Walsh said during his press conference Wednesday afternoon. "Now, if a week from now, if we are in a different place, if our hospital system is stressed, if the numbers continue to go up, we might have a different conversation. But as of right now, we have no plan to shut restaurants down."

Last week, the Mayor did not rule out shutting down restaurants and businesses in Boston if coronavirus cases continued to rise.

But, Walsh mentioned on Wednesday that the city's COVID-19 numbers are trending in the right direction. He said the week of Nov. 20 had an average of 215 positive tests per day. The previous week had an average of 245 positive tests each day.

"The last seven days, we've seen a decrease. We're going the right direction, at least for the first time in five weeks. If we continue in that trend, then there's no conversation about shutting things down, there's no conversation on shutting restaurants down," Walsh said. "We just need to continue to see that trend."

During his press conference, the Mayor asked people to help support local businesses during the holiday season. Walsh announced on Wednesday that the city is setting up free two-hour parking in commercial districts for every Saturday and 30 percent discounts for annual membership of the bike share program.

He also said the city is working on outdoor dining programs for the spring, which will be shared next week. And while the public space program that has allowed restaurants to set up patios on public sidewalks and streets ends Dec. 1, outdoor dining will be allowed to continue indefinitely on private property.

"We remain committed to providing restaurants with opportunities to help them survive and succeed."

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