Coronavirus cases in Massachusetts climbed to 197 as of Monday. Of those cases, 33 are in Boston.
Starting Tuesday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will begin running Saturday schedules on weekdays for most buses and a reduced schedule for subway trains, according to an MBTA press release. The commuter rail will also reduce service, and the ferry will cease to operate entirely until further notice.
MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a statement the MBTA aims to slow the spread of disease while continuing to provide services to critical workers such as health care professionals who rely on public transit.
“While some of these changes are inconvenient, they maintain a responsible balance between protecting the health and safety of the MBTA workforce and our customers, and our goal of continuing to run safe and reliable service without major disruptions,” Poftak said.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh declared a public health emergency in the city Sunday, which was anticipated to last until April 27 unless extended by the Boston Public Health Commission.
Walsh said in a press conference that this action will enable the City to deploy all its resources and issue more directives as situations develop.
“It will facilitate coordination across city agencies,” Walsh said. “Just as important, it will increase corroboration and coordination with Boston’s hospitals and health care providers, and it will assist us in seeking additional resources and supports from the state and the federal government.”
Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order Sunday evening prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people anywhere in the state, as well as dining in at restaurants, effective Tuesday through April 5 unless further extended.
Baker said in a press conference that grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open, and that shoppers should refrain from hoarding.
“I want to be clear, this order does not apply to grocery stores or pharmacies,” Baker said. “This is about bars and restaurants and those places people do not absolutely have to go.”
Baker’s order will override Walsh’s — which also took effect upon release on Sunday — requiring all bars, restaurants and nightclubs in the city to close at 11 p.m., reduce their capacity by 50 percent and prevent lines from extending outside. Violating establishments would be shut down for 30 days.
The City of Boston’s Licensing Board, which grants food and alcohol licenses to establishments, is lifting regulations on take-out services and encouraging establishments to operate via delivery or take-out until the Board issues notice otherwise. All beer gardens will also remain closed until the City’s public health emergency ends.
Meanwhile, all public schools in Boston are set to close citywide on Tuesday. Students will find educational resources on Google Classroom and can partake in optional, ungraded learning while at home, according to a City press release.
Children who rely on school-provided meals to eat make up 72 percent of students in the Boston Public Schools system. Starting Tuesday, households can pick up free, packaged meals on weekdays at more than 70 locations across the city at various time blocks spanning weekday mornings and midday afternoons, according to the City.
All branches of the Boston Public Library are closed, as well as all Boston Centers for Youth and Families pools, gyms and fitness centers.
On Tuesday, all construction projects in the city will come to a hiatus in accordance with another order by Walsh on Monday.