Walsh Addresses Election, Coronavirus in Nov. 4 Update

Following the election, Mayor Walsh held a press conference on November 4, where he talked about voter turnout and moving forward with the election process, as well as provided an update on coronavirus.

Walsh said on Wednesday morning that the Boston turnout of all registered voters was 63.51 percent, which was slightly below the 2016 turnout of 66.75 percent. He said that this includes early voting, in person voting, and a “large number of our mail-in ballots.”

He said that the city will continue counting ballots postmarked by November 3. He also reminded residents that results are still unofficial until November 13, which is the deadline for overseas military and absentee ballots. “The work is still going on and every vote must be counted,” Walsh said.

This is true for states across the country as well, as no official call has been made on the presidential race. “Many states are still counting ballots, as we know,” Walsh said. “We have to be patient and we have to respect the democratic process. It’s important that we’re clear about our values and we want to continue to set a good example.”

Walsh then addressed COVID-19 in the city, saying that as of Tuesday, Boston had 69 new cases of the virus and no new deaths.

Last week, Walsh launched a COVID-19 testing pledge, called “Get the Test Boston” to encourage residents to get tested. He said that City employees who are eligible for benefits will receive one paid hour every 14 days to get tested during work hours.

He said that more people were tested and fewer tested positive during the week of October 30, and he continues to urge residents to go out and get tested. He said the lower positive rate is “good to see, but it’s too soon to say that we stopped the trend.”

“Our numbers continue to be higher than what we need them to be in Boston, and hospitals have been seeing more activity,” Walsh said. “Those are the realities that we have to address.”

He talked about the measures that Governor Baker put in place earlier this week that go into effect this Friday.

“These measures, I want to be clear, these measures are there to help us stop the spread of the virus,” Walsh said. “These are not easy to do.” But he said they are “in like with the cautious approach” taken by the city since the pandemic began.

He also acknowledged that this continues to be difficult on restaurants and small businesses, but warned that “if we don’t get the virus under control,” it could turn south very quickly. “I don’t want to have to shut everything down,” he said. “This is a public health response.”

He said he will continue supporting restaurants and other small businesses with various resources moving forward.

Walsh and Boston Police Commissioner William Gross also addressed questions about potential violence in the city as election results continue to roll in and demonstrations are expected.

Walsh said he does not have concerns about violence in the city, and asked people to “demonstrate peacefully” if they choose to participate in marches.

“If you’re going to march in the streets of Boston, wear a mask,” he added.

“The voter turnout yesterday was phenomenal,” Commissioner Gross said. “When you voice your first amendment rights, do so with the voices of logic, not the ignorance of destruction. We need your eyes and ears. If you see something, say something.”

He said the city is prepared for both the “worst” and “best case scenarios,” but thanked Bostonians for coming out and “voting peacefully” on Election Day.

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