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Heat Emergency Declared In Boston As Residents Look To Stay Cool

BOSTON (CBS) – As Boston braces for another heatwave which could last into Wednesday, the city is opening up cooling centers to all residents.

"It's really too hot, to the point you can't stand it," one Boston resident said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has already declared a heat emergency beginning Sunday.

"Please take the necessary steps to protect yourself from COVID-19 and from the heat and humidity that we expect over the weekend," said Walsh. "Continue to practice social distancing, avoid crowds, wash your hands often, and wear a face covering. If the face-covering causes you to overheat, find a shaded area where you can maintain 6 feet of distance from others, and then remove the face covering so that you can breathe easily and cool down."

Boston residents tried to stay cool in the heat on Saturday. (WBZ-TV)

"Honestly, staying hydrated is the most important thing," said another Boston resident. "It's funny - during the winter, we hope for hot weather. And when we finally get it, we got what we were asking for."

These uncomfortably high temperatures on top of a pandemic make staying cool all the more challenging. Many residents said they plan to stay inside during the day.

"It's very difficult with the masks, but I don't want to take off my mask, so you do what you have to do," said a Boston resident.

"It's almost like having a sauna on your face," another resident said.

And with temperatures rising over the weekend, splash parks will be a popular hangout for families. On Saturday, beachgoers in Southie maintained social distance while trying to cool off, something Walsh has said is important.

"I love the summer, and with COVID-19, it's nice to get outside and enjoy the weather," said a Boston resident. "I'm just concerned the hotter it gets, the more people are not taking responsibility with coronavirus being outside."

2020 7 Day Forecast PM (2)
(WBZ-TV graphic)

Twenty BCYF community centers will be open for residents to use the air-conditioned rooms to cool off. Tot sprays are open at playgrounds in the city, with restrictions. Boston Public Libraries and city-operated pools remain closed.

People planning to use the cooling centers are advised to call before visiting, as cooling centers will operate at 40 percent capacity, so people can maintain social distance. Anyone using a cooling center must wear a face covering, social distance, wash hands often, bring their own water and will only be able to bring one small bag into the cooling center.

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