Mayor Marty Walsh will give a coronavirus update at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, as thousands are expected to gather in Boston to demand a fair election.
In a call for a complete vote count before determining the nation’s next president, activists have organized multiple rallies Wednesday in Boston, where many businesses boarded up earlier this week in fear of civil unrest over the results.
Walsh urged people to be respectful at the polls on Election Day during a Monday press briefing, but said “we have no reason to believe there’s cause for concern.”
“There’s a lot of tension right now in our country, between COVID the entire year, all of the undercurrent of systemic racism and what’s happening there, and you have a presidential election that’s been at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds for a long time,” Walsh said. “Watching what’s happening around the country, I think businesses are taking precautions.”
PHOTOS: Boston Businesses Board Up Storefronts Ahead of Election Day
The mayor noted that since the process of counting mail-in ballots could take days, people shouldn’t be surprised that there wasn’t a result in the presidential election on Tuesday night.
“Be prepared for the process to take some time,” he said. “Remain calm, practice self-care and focus on what we can do in Boston to set a good example, and a national example.”
Meanwhile, there’s increased police presence in the city and the Massachusetts State Police are on standby to maintain order. Gov. Charlie Baker also activated 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to call on if needed.
Concerns were heightened after an incident in which a ballot box outside the Boston Public Library was set on fire. Thirty-five ballots were damaged in that incident, and up to 10 of those could not be counted.
Businesses are boarding up their storefronts and dozens of police officers are preparing for anything to happen on election night
On Newbury Street in Boston, some store owners started boarding up their businesses Monday while others said they would wait until the election results started coming in. Action Emergency Services was fielding dozens of calls from businesses looking for help on the eve of the election.
Walsh’s remarks also come as the city mulls pausing indoor dining and reducing indoor and outdoor gathering limits due to a continued spike in coronavirus cases in the city.
Marty Martinez, Boston’s chief of health and human services, announced at a virtual roundtable Friday that the city is considering a two to three week pause on indoor dining, in addition to reducing the limit on indoor gatherings from 25 to 10 and the limit on outdoor gatherings from 50 to 25.
“It’s important right now when we see this uptick, we have to do all the prevention stuff that’s in front of us, but we also have to consider how might we tighten restrictions on some of the reopening efforts,” Martinez said, according to the Globe.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh launched a pledge aimed at getting all city residents tested for COVID-19.
Last week, Walsh asked all Boston residents to get tested for COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not due to a five-week long trend of rising cases across the city.
He announced a new pledge called “Get The Test Boston,” complete with an “I got the test” sticker for people who get tested. Several employers have signed on, including the Boston Red Sox and Wayfair — they’ll make sure their workers know how to get tested for the virus.
As part of the initiative, all City of Boston employees who are eligible for benefits will have one paid hour every two weeks to get tested for the virus.